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Universal basic income is about to make its presence in the Catalonian society

Catalonia takes the first step on its universal basic income journey

Catalonia takes the first step on its universal basic income journey

Before committing fully to the idea, it needs to be studied through a pilot project

Earlier this week, The Government of Catalonia announced that it has approved the creation of a Temporary Programme, which will serve as a precursor to the full implementation of universal basic income (UBI) in the autonomous region. The programme will be designed and implemented on a limited and selected basis to vulnerable groups through the special Pilot Plan Office.

This comes as a realization of the coalition agreement between ERC and CUP, the two pro-independence parties that form the Catalan government. The two sides wanted to address the tough socio-economic situation faced by more and more families in the wake of the COVID pandemic with the provision of guaranteed income.

Will income become a guaranteed human right?

The Office will also have the goal of devising a pilot plan to implement the UBI. Due to the controversy involved in the proposal of what many consider a radical welfare measure due to its redistributive effects, European and international institutions recommend conducting an experiment prior to the eventual full deployment of guaranteed income.

The experimental project will likely take place next year, and its parameters are yet to be designed. The goal of the government, however, is to have universal basic income become a reality sometime in 2023.

Several Basic Income experiments have already been implemented following the recommendations of various European and international institutions in different countries, such as Namibia, Finland, the Netherlands, Canada, India. In others, they are still underway (USA, Denmark, Kenya, Macau, Brazil) and yet other countries are currently designing such programmes (Germany, France, Scotland).

The universal basic income is an income that would be available to the entire resident population of the region. It would be financed through a tax reform that would affect 20% of the richest taxpayers and which more than 80% of the population can potentially benefit from. This measure would not involve an extra cost to the public treasury, as it does not require dedicated staff to audit whether one is poor enough to qualify - the way it does with similar government welfare programmes. 

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