Other Dutch cities may join Utrecht in experimenting with a ‘basic income’ to replace the current complicated system of taxes, social security benefits and top-up benefits, the Financieele Dagblad says on Wednesday.
In June, Utrecht city council announced plans to launch trials of the new system after the summer holidays together with researchers from Utrecht University. Now Tilburg has similar plans and aims to run a four-year trial, the FD says.
Groningen, Maastricht, Gouda, Enschede, Nijmegen and Wageningen are also looking at the concept and dozens of other councils have expressed an interest in the idea, the paper says.
If junior social affairs minister Jetta Klijnsma approves the Utrecht plan, all welfare benefit claimants will be asked if they would like to join in.
One group will continue under the present system of welfare plus supplementary benefits for housing and health insurance. A second group will get benefits based on a system of incentives and rewards and a third group will have a basic income with no extras.
In theory, a basic income consists of a flat income to cover living costs which, supporters say, will free up people to work more flexible hours, do volunteer work and study. Additional income is subject to income tax.
The FD says the social affairs ministry states that the new laws covering welfare benefits allow ‘some room’ for experimentation. However, neither Utrecht or Tilburg have yet made a formal request to do so, a spokesman told the paper.