Swiss vote on plan to save pensions

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GENEVA: Switzerland votes Sunday on a divisive pension reform plan the government says is vital to safeguard benefits but which critics deride as too modest to rescue a retirement system in financial peril. The key measures, approved by parliament in April, include raising the women’s retirement age by a year to 65, putting it in line with men, as well as a consumption tax (VAT) increase to help fund benefits. Proponents say those steps would help avert deficits in a social security scheme facing pressure from an ageing population, with baby boomers entering retirement. Rising life expectancy, now at 83 years in Switzerland, has added further strain.

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