The great trial of Catalonia begins in January

Universal Basic Income, in theory, sounds like a fantastic thing in every way. The idea is that people receive a certain amount just to live on, thus ensuring a minimum quality of life. It all sounds pretty dreamy, right? Imagine never having to stress or worry about losing your job and your source of income.

Well, 5,000 people living in Catalonia won’t have to imagine for long. The government of Spain’s autonomous region will soon embark on one of the biggest UBI trials of all time.

The trial in Catalonia will see the participation of thousands of participants. Adults will receive €800 (£685, $800) per month and children will receive €300 (£260, $300). Participants will be spread across the region, although it is likely that wealthier residents will be excluded. The test will last two whole years.

Catalonia is certainly not the only place to have tested UBI. More than 130 places around the world, from Iran and Kenya to Canada and Finland, have seen some sort of basic income trial. According Catalan News, the main difference with the Catalan scheme is that it will not be linked to employment or education. In other words, virtually anyone can participate.

What’s so great about UBI? Proponents of the policy would argue that it’s about much more than free money (although, obviously, that’s a pretty big chunk of it). Previous trials have suggested that people who received UBI benefited from reduced stress and better nutrition. There have also been higher school attendance rates and greater spending in local communities. And UBI is likely to be simpler and less bureaucratic than means-tested social security.

Whatever your opinion, Catalonia’s trial is set to begin on January 1, 2023. Watch this space for updates – and, potentially, the free money revolution!

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