Finland’s Latest Government Proposal: Give Every Citizen $14,000 a Year

December 7, 2015 Updated: December 7, 2015

Finland’s latest government proposal is making the news around the world.

The proposal would scrap social welfare benefits and instead give every citizen, regardless of income levels, $1,187 (800 euros) a month tax-free.

The payment would replace all other packages and assistance.

The Finnish Social Insurance Institution is behind the plan to provide a basic income for everyone.

The basic income plan was supported by nearly 70 percent of the country’s population, according to a poll conducted in September.

Earlier this year, voters elected the country’s Centre party to a controlling position in the government. The party’s campaign supported the basic income, although voters from all parties seem to support the plan.

The full rollout of the new plan would be preceded by a pilot stage, reported Bloomberg citing Finnish media.

A homeless woman begs for money in the streets of Helsinki in this file photo. (Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images)
A homeless woman begs for money in the streets of Helsinki in this file photo. (Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images)


Finland is currently suffering from high unemployment, around 10 percent, and the plan is aimed in part at combating the effects. Younger workers are suffering even more, with almost a quarter out of work.

There have been protests and strikes over pay as the country struggles with a three-year recession that has left it as the “sick man of Europe.”

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipil√§ is among those who support the basic income plan, saying: “For me, a basic income means simplifying the social security system.” The plan is estimated to cost Finland roughly 46.7 billion euros.

The Finnish Social Insurance Institution will present the full proposal by November 2016. A similar proposal was rejected by Switzerland’s parliament earlier this year, while several cities have been exploring the idea. Utrecht in the Netherlands is close to starting a pilot project on the idea.

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