Finland plans to pay each citizen 800 euros per month in national basic income proposal
Updated about 4 hours ago
Finland is planning to pay all of its citizens, regardless of income levels, 800 euros ($1,187) per month as part of its plan for a national basic income.
According to the Finnish Social Insurance Institution (Kela) the payment would replace all other benefit packages.
It is hoped the plan will decrease unemployment rates, which were at high levels of 8.7 per cent in October.
In Finland, taking on low-paid temporary work can leave people worse off due to a decrease in welfare payments, as well as slow reinstatement of benefits once the job is over.
The proposal is being prepared by Kela to be presented in November 2016, and it is still unclear how the government — one of the European Union's shakier economies — will afford the costs.
If the population of 5.4 million Finns was given 800 euros each every month, it would cost the government 52.2 billion euros a year. The government has projected a 2016 revenue of 49.1 billion euros.
A pilot phase based on Kela's proposal would be trialled before the basic income is fully implemented, with Kela research department manager Olli Kangas saying about 550 euros per month would be paid out to Finns during this phase.
While other countries are also looking at implementing a national basic income, Finland has the highest rate of public approval for the plan.
About 69 per cent of the Finnish population are in favour of the idea, according to Kela research.
Finnish prime minister Juha Sipila has spoken in support of the proposal before, saying: "For me, a basic income means simplifying the social security system."
The Dutch city of Utrecht is also planning to trial basic income next year, though the payments would only be for welfare recipients.
The parliament in Switzerland voted strongly against a motion for a basic income in September, but a referendum on the issue is planned for next year.