Utrecht could soon be handing out free money to the unfortunate

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The town hall of Utrecht will be experimenting with a new type of welfare system towards the end of the summer. The unfortunate; those who have been unsuccessful in finding work or do not have a home, will receive monthly funding without having to do anything in return. The only thing preventing the plan from going into phase of action is a decision from Secretary of State for Social Services Jetta Klijnsma. Jetta Klijnsma is a member of the Labour Party (PvdA).

An experiment is currently ongoing together with the Utrecht University with three groups who are currently receiving funding. The first group is receiving welfare based on the traditional system. The second group receive bonuses in the event they find work. The third group receive welfare based on the new system. No conclusions have been made yet; the experiment is to continue towards the end of 2016.

The ideology of handing out free money to the unfortunate has been around since 1737 but the motivation and collective decision to go ahead with it has been delayed. This can be contributed to the abundance of scenarios that could take place should such a law pass that would make it possible for citizens to receive free money.

From the one side, the implementation of the new welfare system would be beneficial to the town hall reducing the amount of bureaucracy involved with handling citizens requests for welfare. In turn, that could mean fewer employees are required to keep the system running.

On the other hand, there are feelings that citizens would feel self-motivated to get off ones backside and actively take part in the society they live in. People believe that citizens would feel less pressured and controlled and at the same time be inspired to try and increase their monthly income by finding a paid job. Working would be beneficial providing a more active lifestyle and at the same time, people would feel they could actually start doing what they really want to in life.

On the downside, one could argue that if everyone would only do what they felt like in life, that the more difficult or tedious jobs would be lacking the required work force. Think of jobs such as garbage collection, agricultural farming or factory work. Why would want to do go carry out such work if they could do whatever they felt like? This is why the idea will be tested in just a few Dutch towns on the basis of realism and feasibility.

The question is, how prepared are citizens prepared to stand up and take responsibility for their own society without a push in the back? Would they change their attitude on society and the people that live in it or will we end up with a country full of couch potatoes who expect everything to land on their doorstep? How will the economy be affected? Well, we could soon be finding out.

Photo credit: Petr Kratochvil

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Michael Darmanin

Michael is founder and managing editor of Utrecht Central. He graduated in Communications and Media at the Hogeschool Utrecht in the summer of 2012. He specializes in Web Development, Content Management and Online Marketing. Interested in co-operation? We are open to all kinds of suggestions. Contact us!

1 Response

  1. Avatar Marko says:

    The money is not only for the unfortunate. The idea is to give everybody a base income. If you want more, everybody is free to get work and do so.

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