Readers react to Aditya Chakrabortty’s article on Finland’s universal basic income experiment
There is nothing particularly new about a basic income (A basic income for everyone – yes, Finland shows it really can work, 31 October). It was mooted by the editor of the magazine Oz, Richard Neville, in his book Playpower: “Tomorrow you may be paid NOT to work … People will be paid to stay away from factories, just as some farmers are paid not to harvest crops.” This was the hippy dream of the 1960s and 70s. The idea was also considered by the erstwhile National Consumer Council, of which I was a member, in the early 1980s. Maybe now, as suggested by Aditya Chakrabortty, it has come of age.
Canon David Jennings
Canon theologian, Leicester Cathedral
• While Aditya Chakrabortty makes a very good case for a universal basic income, he does not explain how the Finns pay for public and private housing. This could be its Achilles heel in Britain if it simply further inflates the housing market and private rents, given the dismal failure of successive governments even to develop a full and comprehensive register of private landlords. Nor does it give local authorities the funds to properly enforce basic standards, while the Treasury must be losing hundreds of millions or more in taxes on undeclared income.
New Barnet, Hertfordshire