Catalan universal basic income pilot program voted down by opposition

Minority government's €800/month experiment defeated in vote on budget bill amendment

Junts' Albert Batet and the Socialists' Salvador Illa in Parliament on January 25, 2023
Junts' Albert Batet and the Socialists' Salvador Illa in Parliament on January 25, 2023 / Mariona Puig
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

March 3, 2023 01:55 PM

March 3, 2023 07:55 PM

The Catalan government's ambitious €800/month universal basic income pilot program, which was initially supposed to begin in January and then sought approval as a part of the budget bill, was voted down in the Parliament's economy committee on Friday.

The Socialists, who reached an agreement with ruling Esquerra to pass the budget in early February, voted against the scheme alongside former junior government partner Junts, as well as Ciudadanos, far-right Vox, and the conservative People's Party.

Only anti-austerity En Comú Podem and far-left CUP, who included the universal basic income pilot program among their conditions to support the Catalan cabinet, voted in favor of the pilot program with the minority government.

While the Parliament's plenary will have a final say on the matter next Friday, it is unlikely to be approved after this Friday's vote. 

Junts' Joan Canadell, the former Barcelona Chamber of Commerce president, argued that approving such a scheme would imply "tricking" residents.

According to Junts, formerly in government, the program "implies tricking citizens because until we are independent we will not truly be able to implement it" / Catalan News

"Until we become independent we will not be able to roll it out due to a lack of resources," he said, to which Esquerra's Raquel Sans retorted that "pioneering and innovative" projects like the universal basic income program would help Catalonia split from Spain. 

Fellow pro-independence CUP, meanwhile, blamed Esquerra for the outcome of the vote, attributing it to their deal with the Socialists.  


Filling the Sink podcast

Press play below to listen to the Filling the Sink episode released last August on the universal basic income pilot program that has since been defeated.