The government of Finland are considering the implementation of a tax-free national basic income that would be paid to every citizen, replacing all other benefit programs. The proposal is being drawn up by the Finnish Social Insurance Institution (Kela) and it would see all adults paid a monthly sum of €800 ($1190) regardless of whether or not they receive any other income.
With unemployment at record levels in Finland, the basic income is expected to provide a boost to the economy and encourage many citizens to re-enter the work force. Under the present system, most unemployed people would be worse off taking a low-paid temporary job due to the loss of welfare payments.
The national basic income has the backing of the Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä who when asked about the scheme, said, “For me, a basic income means simplifying the social security system.”
The Finnish aren’t the only country considering introducing a national basic income either, with Switzerland expected to hold a nationwide referendum on the issue in 2016.
What do you think about this proposal? Would this work in Australia? If you’re currently a welfare recipient would you be happy to move to a universal monthly stipend?