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Finland launches two-year basic income trial

Finland launches two-year basic income trial

HELSINKI:  Unemployed people in Finland will now receive a basic income of around £480 per month in an attempt to get 2,000 jobless Finns back to work. The idea of universal basic income has gained traction over the last twelve months as more and more legislators and governments see the benefits of paying their citizens a monthly wage, regardless of their job status.

Finland’s government is launching the experimental scheme for two years in attempt to cut back on administrative red tape, reduce poverty and boost employment in the Scandinavian country. Those who use the programme will not face any reporting requirements and will be deducted from any other state benefits they receive. Olli Kangas, head of the government agency (KELA) which controls the scheme, said that the idea was to avoid discouraging those who are unemployed from staying on benefits and seeking short-term or low-income work.

“It’s highly interesting to see how it makes people behave,” Kangas said. “Will this lead them to boldly experiment with different kinds of jobs? Or, as some critics claim, make them lazier with the knowledge of getting a basic income without doing anything?” The latest job figures from Finland in November show that the unemployment rate is currently at 8.1%, with prime minister Juha Sipila and his government keen to tackle the problem.