Utrecht, Tilburg testing “free money” guaranteed monthly wage

The municipalities of Utrecht and Tilburg are planning a trial with the so-called basic income, in which they give "free money" to welfare recipients without any conditions attached to it, Z24 reports.

These two municipalities believe that the current welfare rules are not working. In some municipalities, welfare recipients have to perform tasks, such as sweeping the streets, to qualify for benefits. Some recipients see these tasks as intimating, senseless and unreasonable. According to the municipalities, the mandatory reintegration trajectories also do not fit well with the recipients and enforcing it costs a lot of time and money.

The idea behind a basic income is that all Dutch citizens should receive one, even if they have work. This would give people more individual freedom to, for example, do more volunteer work or find a new job without the stress of getting no income. The thought is that this will help people out of welfare. It would also mean that a range of benefits and subsidies would no longer be necessary and cut down on bureaucracy for the government.

Depending on the approval of State Secretary Jetta Klijnsma of Social Affairs, Utrecht wants to launch its test with basic income after the summer. All welfare recipients will be asked if they want to participate. The recipients will be divided into three groups - a group that will keep the current job duty, a group that will get a bonus if they find work, and a third group that will receive a basic income with no conditions. The trial will be run in collaboration with the University of Utrecht.

The basic income is a rather controversial subject. Critics argue that giving every single Dutch citizen a basic income will cost tons of money. According to Professor Raymond Gradus, giving every adult a basic income of 750 euros and abolishing all other benefits and allowances, will still result in a deficit in a deficit of 30 billion euros, Z24 reports. There is also the fear that people will simply stop working. The Central Planning Office calculated that a basic income of 750 euros a month will result in 350 thousand lost jobs.

Nevertheless, an increasing number of Dutch municipalities seem to like the idea and want to experiment with it. The Wageningen municipality is close to launching a trial in which long-term welfare recipients will receive 1,100 euros every month and all other municipal support will be abolished. They expect that the recipients of a basic income will be more likely to find work as they no longer have to fear a reduction in their welfare benefits. Groningen, Maastricht, Gouda, Enschede and Nijmegen are also considering similar experiments.