Debt brake

The federal budget from a debt brake viewpoint

in CHF bn

Switzerland's economic capacity is likely to remain underutilized in 2024. The cyclical factor, which is a measure of economic capacity utilization, is 1.006, indicating underutilization of 0.6%. To offset the lower tax receipts, the debt brake thus permits a cyclical financing deficit of 497 million in the ordinary budget (expenditure ceiling > ordinary receipts). This will be almost fully utilized, leaving leeway of only 4 million (budgeted expenditure < expenditure ceiling). The debt brake requirements will thus be met in the 2024 budget.

The economy is likely to recover in the financial plan years. Consequently, the debt brake will permit a cyclical financing deficit only in 2025. However, ordinary expenditure will rise sharply, resulting in structural financing deficits in the financial plan years. As things currently stand, this means that the debt brake will no longer be complied with from 2025 onward. The adjustment required will rise to 1.2 billion through to 2027. This is despite the extensive adjustment measures adopted in spring 2023 and the proposed 2025 relief package, which are already factored into the figures.

In exceptional cases such as the COVID-19 pandemic or in the case of the very high number of people from Ukraine seeking protection, the debt brake permits additional expenditure that does not fall under the restriction for ordinary expenditure. The 2024 budget includes extraordinary expenditure for people from Ukraine seeking protection (1.2 bn), a one-time capital contribution to SBB (1.2 bn) and the rescue mechanism for the electricity industry (4.0 bn). The rescue mechanism is structured as a credit line and must be repaid if it is drawn down. In the financial plan years, the extraordinary expenditure gradually ceases.


The debt brake control statistics are tracked based on the actual results in the financial statements. If there is a structural financing surplus in the ordinary budget, this is currently credited to the amortization account (FBA revision to reduce coronavirus-related debt; in force since February 1, 2023). A structural financing deficit is debited to the compensation account.

The shortfall in the amortization account is likely to continue to rise because of extraordinary expenditure in 2023 and 2024. However, extraordinary receipts and possible structural surpluses in the ordinary budget (long-term average of around 1 bn) will curb the increase.

With the 2023 financial statements, the balances of the compensation and amortization account will be adjusted to the amendments to the Financial Budget Act that came into force on January 1, 2022. These concern primarily provisions and accruals and deferrals, which will be subject to the debt brake from 2023 onward. The adjustments will be submitted to Parliament with the federal decree on the 2023 state financial statements.



Last modification 21.08.2023

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