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The authorities of Finland will stop the experiment with the payment of unconditional basic income

Two thousand unemployed people are paid 560 euros a month, but soon it will end.

The participant of experiment Юза Ярвинен and its children. Photos by Yle
The participant of experiment Юза Ярвинен and its children. Photos by Yle

The Finnish government decided not to extend the two-year experiment to introduce an unconditional base income, the BBC , The Guardian and Business Insider reported . In 2019, when payments cease, the authorities will sum up the results of the project.

The State Social Insurance Agency of Finland (Kela) asked the government for 40-70 million euros to expand the program and connect the working people of the country to it. The plan provided that this would happen in early 2018, but the authorities refused. Without the participation of working Finns, the authors of the project will not be able to understand whether basic income affects career growth or education, so it becomes meaningless.

“The zeal of the government has evaporated somewhere,” said Kela spokesperson Oli Kangas. He was “a bit disappointed” in the decision and clarified that the authorities began to study other options for social sector reforms, for example, the introduction of new benefits for the unemployed.

Two years is too short a time to draw conclusions from such a vast experiment. We needed more time and money to achieve the relevant results.

Oli Cangas
representative of the Social Insurance Agency

How it worked

In January 2017, Finland was the first in Europe to launch a national experiment, which was to last two years. Since then, 2,000 unemployed Finns have been receiving 560 euros each month, while retaining part of the benefits . Participants in the experiment aged between 25 and 58 years were randomly selected from the list of those who receive unemployment benefits in Kela. They were not obliged to report to the authorities on their spending, the amount was not taxed. If they found a job, the payment would be saved.

According to participants in the Finnish experiment, income of 560 euros (about 42,400 rubles at the current rate) did not allow to live “on a broad foot”. The poorest Finns officially earn an average of 2,100 euros per month.

In Finland, 560 euros is very little. You need to be a magician to survive only this amount. This clearly did not allow people just to hang out or lie on the couch.

Youza Järvinen
participant in the experiment in an interview with Vice

Finland wanted to introduce an unconditional base income instead of a “bureaucratized” system of social benefits. According to the draft, at the last stage every citizen would receive 800 euros a month. According to the supporters of the reform, it would help a person find confidence before finding a suitable job, rather than agreeing on the first opportunity to earn extra money. The idea was also seen as “an opportunity to get rid of other measures of social support, when the state dictates what to do to a person”. Supporters of unconditional basic income are Ilona Mask, Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson.

Critics of the idea of ​​unconditional basic income argue that when it is introduced, people will stop looking for work or seek education. Against such a reform, including trade unions, affecting the able-bodied citizens.

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