The Finnish Social Insurance Institution (KELA) has given some preliminary elements concerning Finland’s plan to experiment and then generalize the implementation of a basic income in the country. In its final version, the basic income would replace other benefits people currently receive, and would therefore be rather high, as indicated by Kela’s Research Department Director Olli Kangas. It is considered that all Finnish citizens would be paid an untaxed benefit sum free of charge by the government, 800 euros a month in the final version, 550 euros monthly in the model’s pilot phase. According to YLE, “the basic income model’s full-fledged form would make some earnings-based benefits obsolete, but in the partial pilot format benefits would not be affected. The partial model would also retain housing benefits and income support packages”.
Olli Kangas has later given some additional information. The pilot phase would be nation-wide, but the citizens participating in the experiment would be chosen through a lottery. However, the experts are still trying to find a system which would respect the Finnish Constitution. The experts would propose to the government in March 2016 different systems, and then a choice should be made in November 2016 in order to begin the pilot phase in 2017.
Finland would be the first country to implement such a universal basic income, which is quite impressive, but there are still some interesting questions about this initiative.