Barcelona prepares study of Guaranteed Minimum Income

Kate McFarland

Basic Income Earth Network

The city of Barcelona is preparing to test an income maintenance program in one of its poorest districts. While it has been called a ‘basic income’, the tested programs diverge in several ways from BIEN’s definition of the term.   

Urban Innovative Actions (UIA), an initiative of the European Commission that supports projects investigating “innovative and creative solutions” in urban areas, has allocated €4.85 million (about $5.15 million) to fund a three-year pilot study of guaranteed minimum income (GMI) in Barcelona, Spain. The project is dubbed “B-Mincome” in reference to Mincome, a well-known study of GMI conducted in the late 1970s in Manitoba, Canada.

In the B-Mincome experiment, 1,000 randomly selected households in the Besos district — one of Barcelona’s most economically disadvantaged areas — will receive cash subsidies of an amount sufficient to ensure that their earnings exceed the poverty line. At the time of this writing, the City Council of Barcelona is still finalizing the design of the study. However, the city plans to test several types of GMI schemes, and it plans to investigate them in conjunction with improvements in public services.

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