Information from Jo Bothmer, EAPN Netherlands
In the Netherlands the DSS of the City of Utrecht, and it looks like the city of Tilburg as well, wants to set up an experiment with, what in the press is called, a Basic Income. Aim is to simplify the regulations for social assistance for certain groups. There will be 3 different groups within this experiment. One will get different, new, ruling. One will get less ruling and one group will have no rules at all. The last group is seen as the group with a Basic Income. But the experiment is however not about the Basic Income. It is meant to see which approach is the most successful.
This experiment is done under the new Participation law, in which those who ask for or already have social assistance are meant to go for a quid pro quo. The service in return for income should be voluntary work or helping neighbours who need special care. You may be also ‘forced’ into a ‘project’ for this quid pro quo.
The fact that municipalities start this kind of Basic Income experiments puts the idea of the BI in the middle of the discussion. EAPN NL is a member of the working group “Poverty and Social Exclusion” of the 35 cities with over 100.000 inhabitants. So we take part in the discussion. We brought in two things which we felt that should be taken into account:
- what definition is used for Basic Income? We see how each group uses it own definition.
- The fact that EMIN exist and offers a lot of information about minimum income.
Seen the overwhelming reactions, Utrecht has made very clear in a statement, which was published yesterday, that their experiment can be called a Basic Income, but that this is not what the experiment is about.
We are looking forward how this develops further.