Is Malta on the way to introduce Universal Basic Income (UBI)?

Blog post by Marica Micallef

According to Wikipedia, the Universal Basic Income (UBI) also called basic living stipend,  is a socio-political financial transfer concept in which all citizens regularly receive a legally stipulated and equal financial grant paid by the government without a means test.[1][2] According to the news portal, [3]

UBI is the idea of giving every adult a fixed amount of money every month. It would be enough so that every person would be able to pay for all basic essentials, regardless of whether they have another form of income.

The Guardian explained UBI as “the radical idea of replacing some or all means-tested benefits with a tax-free, unconditional, non-contributory flat amount given to everyone in the country“.[4]

My question is, will adults be given this UBI on top of their current salaries, or will everyone be given one equal fixed amount? With worldwide economies currently being in a bad state due to the draconian measures that governments have resorted to, can governments afford to give extra income to people? If people will be given only one amount set by the government, will this amount suffice for people to pay their loans, bills and live a decent life?  

What is the relationship between UBI and Covid-19? This is because 110 English MPs across seven parties supported the idea of a “recovery basic income” while “Spain became the first country in the world to roll out a form of basic income on a permanent basis, while Hong Kong, Japan and the US have since made significant one-off payments.”[5]

Meanwhile Wales has announced a UBI pilot scheme [6][7] where the option to do a small trial on a small cohort is being considered. However, “” has confirmed that “The issue is that a small trial will find it hard to replicate the effects (both good and bad) that could come if an entire country adopted UBI.”[8] Does this mean that the country will opt for a large trial, like the whole population?

Is it a co-incidence that this is being tested during Covid-19? Is this one of the ways to bring The Great Reset into fruition? Is this how the governments will control the economy and pay back the millions they paid to make up for the lockdowns they forced people in? Is this how the governments will control the economy and pay back the millions they paid for the Covid-19 vaccines, for the ventilators and for the damaged economies?

“” also reported that “If introduced Wales-wide this would be a radical change to how the economy and welfare state works.” How radical is this change?  Will it make people’s lives better or worse? Will people have to sacrifice their all for the benefit of an economy ruined by draconian measures? On the other hand, “The Guardian” states that,

the argument for UBI runs thus: the existing benefit system, devised in a single-breadwinner, job-for-life era, no longer meets the needs of a population increasingly dependent on zero-hours and short-term contracts. The flat amount would not be so great as to obviate work, only to forestall desperation. It would create an upward pressure on stagnant wages, restore bargaining power to workers, and encourage innovation, education and entrepreneurship. Various pilot studies have shown only a slight decrease in paid work – in a basic income pilot conducted in the 1970s in Manitoba, Canada, work hours only decreased among new mothers and teenagers.[9]

I am sure there are more things brewing behind this UBI concept and we will only experience its aftermath once, and if, implemented.

Is Malta going to implement this Universal Basic Income? If yes, when will the government speak of it rather than letting the nation in limbo, as it always does, only to announce things at the last minute?

[1] Ravallion, Martin Poverty freak: A Guide to Concepts and Methods. Living Standards Measurement Papers, The World

[2] Poverty Lines – Martin Ravallion, in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition, London: Palgrave Macmillan








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