England and Wales are giving two year Universal Basic Income (UBI) schemes a go where a group of people will get £1,600 of free money each month with no strings attached.
It's the first time a trial of the idea has gone ahead in the UK and supporters of UBI believe it could be the future - as far as lifting people out of poverty and providing them with financial security is concerned.
There are plenty of suggested benefits but lots of people are concerned about the idea and how much it would cost, as well as having fears that it would put people off working.
Since the tests in the UK are nowhere near finished it would be helpful to look at a country that has completed a UBI trial scheme, and fortunately Finland has done exactly that.
Finland conducted a two year trial of their own which gave a random selection of 2,000 people out of work €560 (£483) a month, and measured what sort of reaction they got against a control group of 173,000 people on unemployment benefits.
In the end, Finland didn't roll out Universal Basic Income nationwide, so what impact did the trial have and why didn't the Finns stick with it?
According to the World Economic Forum, the people who were on UBI felt they were doing slightly better than the control group of people on unemployment benefits.
Of the people on UBI, 13 percent said they were 'living comfortably' and 47 percent were 'doing ok', compared to eight percent and 44 percent from the control group.
Those on the scheme also spent slightly more time on average in employment than those on benefits too. Between a measured period of November 2017 and October 2018, the average UBI recipient worked 78 days compared to 73 days for someone on benefits.
People on UBI also seemed to be happier and had greater wellbeing, as 22 percent on the scheme said they felt depressed compared to 32 percent in the control group, while people's overall wellbeing increased by 36 percent.
Asked to score how satisfied they were with their life, the average person on UBI scored themselves as a 7.3, while the control group's average was 6.8.
In general, that looks like people were slightly more financially comfortable and worked a little bit more than someone on unemployment benefits, and were significantly happier with their lives too.
So what happened for this not to become the norm in Finland?
The scheme didn't massively help people find jobs as had been hoped, and the entire test itself ended up getting criticised as being a flawed attempt at figuring out what UBI could do.
One of the issues with doing tests of UBI on a few people is that you really aren't holding up the 'U' part of the deal, as the Finnish test only targeted a specific group of people.
You can see what a group of people will do on basic income but you can't test what happens if that money is given to everyone unless the entire country is on the scheme.
On top of that, in 2018 while the scheme was going on the Finnish government introduced stricter conditions for accessing unemployment benefits, which may have affected the trial.
There were also criticisms of the small size of the research group and the low monthly amount of money they received, with the original plans for 10,000 people to get about €1,000 (£863) a month.Featured Image Credit: Pixabay