Spain is hoping to roll out what would be an unprecedented universal basic income program to assist struggling citizens during the coronavirus crisis.
Minister for economic affairs Nadia Calvino, who is also the deputy prime minister, made the announcement on Sunday night via Spanish broadcaster La Sexta.
Universal basic income is defined as unconditional, regular payment to all citizens.
The amount however can differentiate between people because demographics such as age are accounted for.
It’s believed the payment would be monthly one, but no actual figures were given.
Should the proposal go through, Spain would become the first European nation to implement such a system.
Ms Calvino also mentioned the government’s aim of making the universal basic income program ‘stay forever’, – not only to be used as an emergency measure during the coronavirus pandemic.
There does however remain the question of how Spain, a country still rebuilding its economy, will fund such a scheme.
“A universal basic income in the traditional sense is highly unlikely (to be implemented in Spain),” Oliver Reynolds, an economist at FocusEconomics told Forbes.
Mixed success in other universal basic income programs
This has been in place since 2011. And studies have found that it has not discouraged people from actively seeking out employment.
In another case, Finland ran a two-year basic income experiment with 2000 unemployed people up until 2019.
Results were mixed. People reported to be happier and healthier, yet few had shown much desire to find a job.
Spain is in its fourth week of lockdown and this is set to go on until at least April 26.
After the United States, Spain has the second highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, more than 140 000. More than 13 700 deaths have been reported by Tuesday – only Italy has more fatalities.