Swiss Ministers Lose Free Skiing Perk in Cost-Cutting Measure

In a move designed to cut costs, Swiss government ministers will no longer receive free ski passes, according to a report from Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen: (SRF) on Monday. 

The annual pass costs 4,234 Swiss francs (£3,723).

The perk, which allowed ministers complimentary access to the country's many ski resorts, has come under scrutiny in recent months as Switzerland grapples with rising inflation and the soaring cost of living.

Christophe Darbellay, a  councillor in Valais, said the passes were a “work tool. I have a very great number of meetings with business leaders and chief executives on the slopes.”

Viola Amherd, the Swiss president posted photograph of a ski run in the Valais  captioned “Quite simply wow." which inflamed the row.

A member of the right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party, Michaël Buffat said: “The attitude of the government is revolting. It is mocking citizens and families who must tighten their belts. The federal council should have refused this present funded by the taxpayers.”

According to the SRF report, the decision to eliminate the free ski passes was made by the Federal Council, the country's seven-member executive body. The council reportedly determined that the perk was no longer justifiable in the current economic climate.

The move has been met with mixed reactions. Some have praised the decision as a necessary austerity measure, while others have criticized it as a symbolic slight against government officials.

Switzerland is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts, with many of the country's resorts located in the picturesque Alps. The cost of a ski pass can vary depending on the resort and the season, but can often run into the hundreds of Swiss francs.

The decision by the Federal Council is likely to save the government a significant amount of money. The exact amount is not yet known, but it is estimated to be in the tens of thousands of francs per year.

The move comes as Switzerland, like many other countries, is facing a number of economic challenges. The cost of living has been rising steadily in recent months, and inflation is expected to continue to climb in the coming year.

The Federal Council has said that it is committed to taking steps to reduce government spending. The elimination of the free ski passes is just one of a number of measures that the council is considering.

It remains to be seen whether the decision to end the free skiing perk will have a significant impact on public opinion. However, the move is likely to be seen as a sign that the government is taking the current economic situation seriously

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