France: The Gironde region’s path to a basic income experiment
Since the beginning of 2017 that basic income has been on the political agenda in Gironde, a southwestern region in France. At that time, several Administration task groups worked together, from December 2016 up to February 2017 to reflect on the possibility of implementing a basic income policy in Gironde. Those groups included social network representatives, entrepreneurs, social workers and volunteers, and have deliberated (on the 15th of February 2017), as a “citizen jury”, that basic income should be implemented in France, and adapted locally, in this case for the Gironde region.
Jean-Luc Gleyze, the President of Gironde’s Council Department and of its Permanent Commission has been behind this initiative since early 2017, and a strong supporter of launching a basic income experiment in Gironde. Many press references and a video were produced since that moment, motivated by this initiative, which was praised by former French prime-minister Manuel Valls. A motion proposal “for the experimentation with basic income in Gironde” was presented to government after it had already been reflected upon a French Parliament report (with its synthesis document), undersigned by Daniel Percheron, senator and former President of (French region) Nord Pas-de-Calais Regional Council. This report recommended the experimentation with the concept for 3-year periods, in each voluntary department (region), especially targeting young (18-25 years of age) and pre-retirement adults (50-65 years of age).
At the moment, the basic income pilot project in Gironde is being planned for 2019, after President Emmanuel Macron has also shown his will to authorize and support local experiments. In a first step, this could mean co-financing in the order of 100 000 € to support feasibility studies, in preparation for actual experiments. These feasibility studies are thought to last for four to six months, and define the experimental parameters, such as population segments, duration and basic income level.
According to Jean-Luc Gleyse, basic income has the potential to respond positively to poverty and insecurity situations, adequately assist people as instability in the job market deepens due to automation, can provide choices in the present ever-changing lifestyle and also decrease the non-uptake of social benefits, “which reach 34% in Gironde and almost 40% nationally”.
Although the basic income experiment envisioned for Gironde has not been deployed yet, an online basic income simulator has been made available to citizens. This tool allows people to look at the possibilities for a basic income in France, and its consequences as far as financing is concerned.
More information at:
Daniel Percheron, “Le revenue de base en France: de l’utopie à l’expérimentation [Basic Income in France: from utopia to experimentation]”, Sénat Francais, October 13th 201
Pierre Cheminade, “Vers un revenue universel en Gironde dés 2019 [Towards an universal basic income for Gironde in 2019]”, La Tribune Bordeaux, November 27th 2017