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Italy: minimum basic income discussed during 2013 electoral campaign

General elections will be held in Italy on 24-25 February 2013. After the presentation of Mario Monti’s “Agenda for Italy”, Beppe Grillo, the colourful leader of Movimento 5 stelle (5 Stars Movement) proposed a counter-agenda in 16 points, in which the second point is a “Guarantee Citizens’ Income”. After the news of suicides provoked by the critical economic situation, Grillo asserted on his blog that “No one should be left behind” and that every one needs to be assured of some sort of basic guaranteed income as soon as possible. In a public speech he said that in these times of economic crisis, the funding for it would be found by taking money from the so called “gold pensions”, i.e. taxing retirement benefits over four thousand euros. However, his (somewhat vague) proposal remains closer to a minimum income conditional upon work availability than to a true basic income.

Movimento 5 stelle is not the only party that put some form of citizens’ income on its agenda. Elettra Deiana, member of the national presidential committee of Sel (Sinistra Ecologia Libertà / Left Ecology and Freedom) has called for a welfare reform to ensure every adult with no means and who is looking for work an income that can cover his/her basic needs.

If the policy proposed by the two parties is not really an unconditional basic income, it’s important to stress that for the first time in Italy the problem of non-contributory income support (i.e. not linked with previous contribution or prior work activity) has featured in a campaign for the national Parliament.

Links
Beppe Grillo on guarantee citizen income:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04ECfodHwuo
http://www.beppegrillo.it/2012/05/omicidi_sociali.html

Elettra Deiana (Sel) on basic income:
http://www.sinistraecologialiberta.it/articoli/reddito-lavoro-esistenza-il-quid-della-cittadinanza/

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