Shares in %
2021 expenditure by task area
Shares in %
Social welfare accounts for 31.4% of ordinary expenditure. This expenditure is bound by law and therefore barely controllable in the medium term. Old-age and survivors' insurance accounts for half. Other key areas include the Confederation's contribution to disability insurance and individual premium reductions, as well as expenditure on migration. Expenditure growth depends largely on demographic developments, as well as inflation and salary trends.
Finances and taxes account for 14.4% of ordinary expenditure. Expenditure growth in this area is largely specified and can be influenced only in the long term. The shares of federal receipts, for example, are set out in the Constitution and depend directly on the amount of receipts, and interest expenditure is determined by debt and the development of interest rates.
Transportation accounts for 13.2% of ordinary expenditure. It includes expenditure on rail and public transportation (63%), road transportation (35%) and air transportation (2%). Transportation expenditure is financed primarily by earmarked tax receipts and is thus largely restricted. Most of this is channeled into the railway infrastructure fund (RIF) and the motorway and urban transportation fund, through which the operation, maintenance and extension of the transportation infrastructure are steered.
This task area accounts for around 10.8% of ordinary expenditure. The education and research task area is a priority for the Confederation. Its development is significantly shaped by the 2021-2024 ERI dispatch, adopted on February 26, 2020, as well as by EU education and research programs.
Security accounts for 8.2% of expenditure. More than 80% of security expenditure is attributable to military national defense, which is determined by the 2021-2024 Armed Forces payment framework, which was requested in the 2020 Armed Forces dispatch. The task area includes the tasks "military national defense", "civil protection and civilian service", "police, prison system and intelligence" and "border controls".
The agriculture and food task area accounts for around 4.7% of ordinary expenditure. Most of this expenditure is controlled by means of three payment frameworks. Parliament set the payment frameworks for the implementation of the 2018-2021 agricultural policy as follows: direct payments 11.25 billion, production and sales 2.0 billion, fundamental improvements and social measures 0.6 billion.
Just over three quarters of the task area's expenditure goes to development cooperation. Most of the remainder is attributable to political relations, i.e. Swiss diplomatic and consular representations and expenditure for international organizations.
The five remaining task areas (institutional and financial conditions, culture and leisure, health, protection of the environment and spatial planning, economic relations) account for 12.5% of expenditure.
Development of 2021 expenditure by task area
in mn and %
Relative to the 2020 budget, expenditure will grow by 2.0% (+1.5 bn). This growth is attributable to the planned expenditure in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic (1.6 bn): honoring of guarantees, sports aid package, financing of coronavirus tests, indirect press subsidies. Excluding these measures, expenditure is still at the level of the 2020 budget.
Social welfare expenditure will remain virtually at the same level as in the previous year's budget in 2021 (+0.2%; +40 mn). While the Confederation's payments to old-age insurance (+179 mn) and supplementary benefits (+171 mn) will increase, the disability insurance contribution will decrease (-156 mn). In addition, expenditure in the migration sector will decline (-218 mn), as fewer asylum applications are expected. Expenditure is set to surge in the financial plan years, due essentially to the 2022 VAT increase in favor of AHV (AHV 21), as well as to higher federal contributions to individual premium reductions.
Expenditure on international relations is set to fall slightly in 2021 (-0.3%, or -10 mn). On the one hand, funds for multilateral development cooperation will increase (+51 mn), while on the other there will be a decline in political relations (lower loans to the FIPOI Building Foundation for International Organisations, -20 mn) and in economic relations expenditure (lower contributions to EU member states, -41 mn).
Relative to the 2021 budget, transportation expenditure will decline by 2.5% (-258 mn) on the back of lower rail transportation expenditure as a result of the weaker economic growth. Because of the more sluggish economic growth and milder inflation, the deposit in the railway infrastructure fund will be lower. The proposal to combat the COVID-19 crisis in the area of public transportation is not yet included in the figures available. Road transportation expenditure will be up by 40 million, with the additional expenditure going mainly to road projects in conurbations, which will be financed by the motorway and urban transportation fund.
An increase of 1.0% (+79 mn) is budgeted for education and research. This growth reflects the high priority attached to this task area in the federal budget. The main increases will be in expenditure on basic and applied research, especially the federal contributions to EU research programs (+58 mn), energy research (+11 mn) and the funding contribution to Innosuisse (+35 mn). The task area's development is shaped by the 2021-2024 ERI dispatch, adopted on February 26, 2020, as well as by EU research programs.
Regarding the agriculture and food task area, 18 million less is foreseen than in the 2020 budget (-0.5%). This is because of lower direct payments due to weak inflation. The further development of agricultural policy from 2022 onward (AP22+) is already included in the financial plan years. The Federal Council adopted the AP22+ dispatch for the attention of Parliament in February 2020. It requests agricultural payment frameworks in the amount of 13.8 billion for 2022 to 2025.
Security expenditure will shrink by 0.7% (-44 mn), due mainly to the absence of one-time expenditure for the early retirement of career military officers and members of the Border Guard in 2020 (-70 mn). Furthermore, spending on armament procurements will be lower as a result of current requirements planning (-11 mn). At the same time, there will be an increase in expenditure on the "Schengen/Dublin further development" program (+12 mn), on operational cooperation at the external borders of the Schengen area (FRONTEX +23 mn) and on the intelligence service (+11 mn).
Finances and taxes expenditure will be virtually unchanged on the previous year (+22 mn; +0.2%). The shift in receipts from 2020 to 2021 will cause the shares of federal receipts to edge up by 63 million. Moreover, the VAT on radio and television reception fees will be refunded in 2021 (+186 mn). At the same time, despite greater debt, the low interest rates will cause the Confederation's interest expenditure to plunge by 267 million. Furthermore, as a result of the fiscal equalization reform, there will be a reduction in resource equalization expenditure (-126 mn), and an additional 80 million each will be budgeted for socio-demographic cost compensation and mitigating measures.
Development of ordinary expenditure
in bn and % of GDP
The sharp reduction in GDP in 2020 will drive the expenditure ratio up by just under 1 percentage point. In 2021, expenditure growth will be 2.0%, which is weaker than nominal GDP growth (5.1%). The expenditure ratio (budget in % of GDP) will thus fall again from 11.5% in 2020 to 11.2% in 2021. This trend will continue in the following years. The expenditure ratio will have fallen back to 11.0% by 2024.
Last modification 24.08.2020