BIEN Co-Founder Guy Standing, President of Catalonia Pere Aragonès, Minister of the Presidency Laura Vilagrà, and Head of the Office of the Pilot Plan to Implement Universal Basic Income Sergi Raventós, Barcelona, November, 2021

The President and Government of Catalonia, part of Spain encompassing seven million people and centered on Barcelona, have announced that there will be a two-year basic income pilot starting next year, providing an unconditional monthly payment to 5,000 individuals.

In November 2020, BIEN co-founder Guy Standing had a long private meeting with the President in his offices about the objectives of the pilot and then held meetings with the officials in charge of designing it, including Sergi Reventós, head of the Office of the Pilot Plan to Implement Universal Basic Income. That office is charged with designing, implementing, and evaluating the Pilot. Raventós hopes the design will be accomplished in 2022 and implementation begun before the end of that year, with evaluation in 2025.  The 5,000 participants in the Pilot will be a sample representative of the Catalan social and economic fabric. Funding for the Pilot has been allocated.

Guy Standing will continue to provide technical advice, based on the principles laid out in his recent article, “Basic Income Pilots: Uses, Limitations and Design Principles” in Basic Income Studies, 2021; 16(1) pp 75-99. In a separate event linked to the initiative organized by La Caixa Foundation in the Palau Macaya, he advocated making a link between the commons and basic income. 

A further public event to discuss design issues has been scheduled by the Federation of Catalan Social Action Organization with the Barcelona City Council to take place on December 20.  Guy Standing will be the keynote speaker. Most importantly, the pilot is seen as a way of showing how Catalonia and Spain could move away from the highly targeted, means-tested social assistance schemes that have fared badly during the Covid pandemic.