A new Universal Basic Income (UBI) trial will test just how effective it is to hand out cash to everyday citizens.
The two-year trial will give away £1,600 ($2,013) per month to people in central Jarrow, northeast England and East Finchley, north London.
The test, which will send out a total of $1.44 million, will be conducted by the think tank Autonomy and will monitor 30 participants.
Researcher Will Stronge tells TalkTV that Autonomy will track the impact that the handouts have on the test subjects’ overall health and well-being.
“We’re really interested in finding out what the effect is of giving 30 people £1,600 a month unconditionally to see what the effects are both on their physical and mental health – but also on other factors like employment outcomes and their financial security too.
So it’s in a wave of experimentation around the world, recently in the US where there’s been lots of similar experiments but also in Europe as well, and in Finland.
We want to see what the effects are here in the UK where we know already we’ve had a welfare system which the United Nations have called cruel and inhuman, where often people are locked into poverty and poorly paid, insecure jobs by the current welfare system. We want to see with this cohort of people while we’re planning for a trial to take place, what effect an alternate, different sort of system has.”
Back in 2017, Finland launched its own government-backed two-year trial, giving €560 ($602) a month to 2,000 unemployed citizens aged 25 to 58.
The results found that participants who received the cash obtained a similar level of employment as the control group.
However, the recipients reported lower levels of stress, and appeared to be more motivated to find work than those who received nothing.