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Ministers Mattila and Vehviläinen: Basic income experiment paves the way to social security for the 2020s

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 20.10.2016 13.41 | Published in English on 25.10.2016 at 10.19
Press release 179/2016

The Government decided at its session on 20 October to adopt a legislative proposal on a basic income experiment.

The primary goal of the basic income experiment is related to promoting employment, and the aim is to find out by means of a follow-up research whether basic income promotes employment. A random sample of 2,000 persons receiving Kela’s unemployment-related benefits would be included in the experiment. The level of the basic income would be EUR 560 a month.

“The legislative proposal now at hand concerns the first phase of a larger basic income pilot study. This first experiment will start early next year. The research consortium preparing the pilot study will, however, continue its work until November, and when that work is completed the Government can decide whether it continues, and possibly extends, the now proposed experiment. The second phase would start in early 2018, and it could even include different kinds of taxation measures, for example, that could not be finalised for the first phase due to tight schedules,” said Minister of Social Affairs and Health Pirkko Mattila.

“Overall the basic income experiment is unique even in international terms, and many thanks are due already now for those involved in the preparations,” said Mattila who is the minister responsible for the project.

The basic income experiment is part of the Government key project called “Services to be based on customer needs”. It also forms a part of the Government goal to introduce a culture of experimentation.

Experimenting is a development tool society can use to gather useful information about what works and what does not work.

“Basic income that encourages people to work has for years been among the goals of several political parties. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s Government is now the first one to take concrete action by implementing a basic income experiment, as promised in the government programme,” said Minister of Local Government and Public Reforms Anu Vehviläinen who is in charge of the key project to encourage a culture of experimentation.

The Government is also implementing a National Incomes Register as part of the key project to promote digitalisation of services. A real-time incomes register creates a foundation for increased coordination of earned income, social benefits and taxation.

“Making full use of the data collected to the income register in combination with the outcomes of the basic income experiment enables us to do an overall reassessment of the Finnish social security system. The basic income experiment, starting early next year, should be seen as the first step towards social security for the 2020s,” Vehviläinen said.

Inquiries:

Niina Perälä, Special Adviser to Minister Mattila, tel. +358 295 163107, [email protected] (N.B. no Scandinavian letters å, ä or ö)
Tuomas Vanhanen, Special Adviser to Minister Vehviläinen, tel. +358 295 530216, [email protected]

Press release: Legislative proposal on basic income experiment submitted to Parliament