A new government study aims to establish what Malta’s basic living income should be and whether the concept of introducing the novel form of state support could work locally. 

Basic living income, which is sometimes referred to as universal basic income, is a government-issued payment made to citizens intended to cover the costs of satisfying their basic living needs. 

Proponents have argued that such systems would simplify government bureaucracy by replacing existing social security payments with one lump sum, while also cushioning citizens from the threat of job losses.  

No country in the world has introduced the system so far, though experiments in Canada, Finland, India, and Namibia have attracted global media attention. Switzerland rejected plans to introduce such a system in a 2016 referendum. 

On Monday, Minister Carmelo Abela - responsible for implementing electoral pledges - said he had commissioned a technical report to establish Malta's basic living income. 

“The aim behind the study focusing on the concept of basic living income is to ensure a more decent income for everyone,” Abela said.

The Labour Party's 2017 electoral manifesto had pledged to look into the proposal to introduce such a system in Malta, following consultation. 

Abela, who was speaking during a meeting of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development, said economist Joe Falzon will be carrying out the research project. 

The study will take a look at how other countries have approached the matter and will present preliminary cost estimates of the ideal model of basic living income to be implemented locally. 

Abela also said that separate meetings had been held in the past days with all social partners to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on work conditions as well as the need for legal reform in this sector. 

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