6 Jun 2016

Just 23 percent of Swiss vote for 'basic income'

11:07 am on 6 June 2016

Switzerland appears to have rejected by a wide margin a proposal to introduce a guaranteed basic income for everyone living in the country.

Plainpalais place in Geneva shows a giant poster reading "What would you do if your income was taken care of?".

Plainpalais place in Geneva shows a giant poster reading "What would you do if your income was taken care of?", setting the Guinness World Record for the largest poster ever printed. A campaign group backing an unconditional minimum income in Switzerland set a Guinness Record for the world's largest poster on May 14, seeking to rally support for the controversial idea. Photo: AFP

Supporters said introducing a monthly income equivalent to about $3700 dollars per adult and $920 dollars per child under 18 would promote human dignity and public service.

Opponents, including the Swiss government, said it would cost too much and weaken the economy.

Final results showed the proposal winning just 23 percent of the vote, but the idea was gaining support in some other countries.

The wording on the initiative was vague, asking for a constitutional change to "guarantee the introduction of an unconditional basic income" but with no mention of amounts.

The idea was also under consideration elsewhere. In Finland, the government was considering a trial to give basic income to about 8000 people from low-income groups.

And the Dutch city of Utrecht was also developing a pilot project which would begin in January 2017.