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Finland considers basic income to reform welfare system

The Finnish government is considering a pilot project that would see the state pay people a basic income regardless of whether they work.

The details of how much the basic income might be and who would be eligible for it are yet to be announced, but already there is widespread interest in how it might work.

Prime Minister Juha Sipila has praised the idea. "For me, a basic income means simplifying the social security system," he said. The scheme is of particular interest to people without jobs. In Finland, they now number 280,000 - 10% of the workforce.

With unemployment an increasing concern, four out of five Finns now are in favour of a basic income.


Basic income

"A basic income? Yes, I'd gladly have €1,000 (£700) a month," says one man at a centre for the unemployed in Pori, near Finland's west coast. But the amount is unlikely to be anywhere near that high.

He is the among the jobless who have come to an old, wooden building in city, where they can get cheap food, shop at a second-hand market, and take part in a variety of activities on offer.


"It's a nice place to socialise," says another man sitting on a bench outside, enjoying the summer sun. People here have been out of work for a long time.

"A basic income would encourage people to take a temporary job," says Paivi Hietikko, who helps out at the centre. Although she has no regular income at the moment, she does receive a payment for her work here.

"Having a basic income would mean the bureaucracy I've encountered at the employment agency would decrease."

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