RSA comments on Finland's Basic Income trials

By agency reporter
February 11, 2019

The Finnish government recently published initial data from its Basic Income trials.  Its key findings were that there was no evidence that Basic Income disincentives work and that it had an positive effect on mental health, physical health and overall levels of wellbeing

Commenting, Anthony Painter, director of Action and Research at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), said: "Supporters of Basic Income will be encouraged by the early data from the Finnish experiments.

"In the first year, Finnish recipients of a Basic Income were no more or less likely to work but enjoyed higher mental and physical health and levels of well-being. This mirrors what many previous experiments have shown. Advocates will note that the criticism leveled at Basic Income – that it would disincentivise work – is not supported by this data.

"Recipients of Basic Income also had greater levels of trust in each other, in Government, and in their ability to improve their work situation in the future.

"Under Universal Credit, in the UK we have seen the disastrous social effects of harsh welfare sanctions. This data adds to the evidence base for a more humane welfare system and shows there is a strong case for Basic Income experiments in the UK.

"It would be good to see 'saturation pilots' in particular, in which everyone in an specific area receives a Basic Income. Five localities in the UK, four of which are in Scotland, have volunteered to explore hosting such a pilot. The UK government must support the Scottish Government's exploration of a trial and act to establish pilots in the rest of the UK. 

"Critics of the idea of UBI often ask why the idea doesn't just go away. Today's evidence shows why. Basic Income can be one of the answers to providing for greater economic security and well-being."

* More on the results of the Finnish experiment here

* More information on Basic Income from the RSA here

* Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce


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