Universal basic income trial: How will it work and where will it happen?

The trial will take place across two years (PA Archive)
The trial will take place across two years (PA Archive)

England is trialling a universal basic income for the first time, with 30 participants about to be paid a monthly lump sum every month for the next two years.

Following Norway’s lead, England will use the trial to see if a baseline income, with no strings attached, affects mental and physical health.

The trial will take place over the next two years among volunteers, but how much will they be paid — and how will a universal basic income work?

Here’s what you need to know about the initial trial and its aims.

How will the universal basic income trial work?

Those involved in the trial will receive £1,600 each month, with no restrictions on how it should be spent.

Over the two years of the trial, their mental and physical health will be tracked to see what impact a universal basic income would have on people.

A control group will also be recruited and not paid the basic income, while being monitored in the same way to track their experiences during the same period.

All participants will be randomly selected from a pool of volunteers, with 20 per cent of places allocated to those with disabilities.

Where is the trial happening?

Two areas in England have been selected for the initial pilot scheme: central Jarrow, in north-east England, and East Finchley, in north London.

The amount of money is actually higher than what a universal basic income would usually cover, as it ordinarily covers basic monthly costs.

However, this trial seeks to uncover the effect of a substantial lump sum on people’s everyday health.

Supporters of the scheme argue that removing financial concerns will improve both physical and mental health, while critics of universal income often claim that it’s too expensive and such aid should be targeted at those who need it most.

Other trials of universal basic income

It’s not the first scheme of its kind in the UK, with Wales also running a scheme paying £1,600 a month for two years to young people leaving care on a trial basis.