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Finland to pay the unemployed a basic income of $587 per month

Helsinki: Finland has become the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens a basic monthly income, amounting to €560 ($587), in a social experiment hoped to cut government red tape, reduce poverty and boost employment.

Olli Kangas from the Finnish government agency KELA said today that the two-year trial with the 2,000 randomly picked citizens who receive unemployment benefits kicked off January 1.

Those 2,000 unemployed chosen will receive €560 every month, with no reporting requirements on how they spend it. The amount will be deducted from any benefits they already receive.

The unemployment rate of Finland, a nation of 5.5 million, stood at 8.1% in November with some 213,000 people without a job — unchanged from the previous year.