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Finland rejects ‘false’ claims its basic income trial has failed: ‘Proceeding as planned’

Finland rejects ‘false’ claims its basic income trial has failed: ‘Proceeding as planned’

Finland has denied widespread claims its basic income experiment has fallen flat.

A series of media reports said the Finnish government had decided not to expand its trial – a version of events which has been repudiated by officials.

Miska Simanainen, a social affairs official, said the trial, where about 2,000 unemployed people aged 25-58 are being paid a tax-free €560 (£490) monthly income with no questions asked, was “proceeding as planned.”

The €20m programme, which seeks to reform Finland’s social security system, ends in December, at which point Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s centre-right government will assess initial results.

Reports have said the government social affairs agency has requested up to €70m in extra funding this year, something Mr Simanainen says is false.

Finland became the first country in Europe to start the basic income experiment in January 2017.

Supporters of basic income argue it would help get unemployed people into temporary jobs, rather than forcing them to remain unemployed to qualify for benefits.