The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Civic committee campaigns for Yes to the pension age increase

Representatives of the SVP, FDP, trade association and employers' association want to secure AHV pensions in the long term by raising the retirement age. They argue that a Yes to the pension initiative is an "honest solution instead of a plaster policy".

The support committee for the popular initiative "For a secure and sustainable pension scheme (pension initiative)" appeared before the media in Bern on Thursday. The Young Liberals' popular initiative aims to gradually raise the retirement age to 66 by 2033 and then link it to life expectancy.

A good four weeks before the referendum on March 3, civic and business associations were beating the drum for the proposal. The tenor was that linking the retirement age to life expectancy would secure the AHV in an intergenerational and sustainable manner, without tax increases or pension cuts.

Due to the ageing population, the first pillar of old-age provision is at risk. Federal figures show that the current system would still require higher taxes or salary contributions.

Recipe against labor shortage

There is only one sensible option: to adjust the retirement age by gradually linking it to life expectancy, said FDP National Councillor Philippe Nantermod from Valais. "The pension initiative will not cost the working population or pensioners a single franc."

According to Barbara Zimmermann-Gerster, Director of the Swiss Employers' Association (SAV), raising the retirement age could significantly reduce the labor shortage in the long term. This was shown in a study by the University of Lucerne.

"I understand all those who are skeptical about raising the retirement age," admitted FDP National Councillor Daniela Schneeberger from Basel, who spoke as Vice President of the Swiss Trade Association (SGV). However, the unemployment statistics show that older people also have very good opportunities on the job market.

Finally, Thurgau SVP National Councillor Diana Gutjahr pointed out that the pension initiative would have a positive impact on other areas: less immigration, stabilization of VAT and payroll taxes, lower federal expenditure, higher tax revenues and higher pensions.

©Keystone/SDA

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