Debt brake

The federal budget from a debt brake viewpoint

in CHF bn

Switzerland's economic capacity is likely to remain underutilized in 2023. The cyclical factor, which is a measure of economic capacity utilization, is 1.011, indicating underutilization of 1.1%. The debt brake thus permits a cyclical financing deficit of 877 million (expenditure ceiling > ordinary receipts). This will not be fully utilized, leaving leeway of 159 million (budgeted expenditure < expenditure ceiling). Therefore, the debt brake requirements are likely to be met in 2023.

In the financial plan years, ordinary expenditure will rise sharply, while the permissible financing deficits will fall, resulting in large structural financing deficits. As things currently stand, this means that the debt brake will no longer be complied with from 2024 onward. The adjustment required will amount to 1.1 billion in 2024 and rise to as much as 3.0 billion in 2025.

In exceptional cases such as the COVID-19 pandemic or in the event of a very high number of protection seekers/refugees, the debt brake permits additional expenditure that does not fall under the restriction for ordinary expenditure. In the extraordinary budget, an extraordinary payment requirement of 1.7 billion has been requested for 2023 for people from Ukraine seeking protection (social welfare lump sums for the cantons). There will also be extraordinary receipts of 1.6 billion in 2023 (in particular, supplementary distributions of 1.3 billion by the SNB and a special dividend of 200 million on the privatization of RUAG).


Because of the high extraordinary expenditure incurred between 2020 and 2022 to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a shortfall in the amortization account, which provides the control statistics for the extraordinary budget. By the end of 2022, the amortization account is expected to show a deficit of between 25 billion and 30 billion (including extraordinary expenditure incurred in 2022 for people from Ukraine seeking protection).

The Federal Council decided last year to recognize the supplementary distribution of 1.3 billion from the Swiss National Bank (SNB) under extraordinary receipts from 2021 onward. The remaining shortfall is to be made up by means of the financing surpluses resulting from budgeted expenditure not being fully utilized. These amount to around 1 billion per year. This requires an amendment to the Financial Budget Act.

The National Council discussed the proposal during the 2022 summer session and decided to additionally use earlier surpluses to offset half of the shortfall in the amortization account (variant 2 according to the consultation). In this way, the repayment period can be shortened to 2031 instead of 2035. The Council of States will probably discuss the proposal during the 2022 autumn session. If the timing permits, the amendment should be applied already in the 2022 financial statements.



Last modification 22.08.2022

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