In Brief

Quebec to launch world’s biggest basic income scheme

Anti-poverty plan will give 84,000 people £10,500 a year

The Canadian province of Quebec is to launch the world’s biggest ever basic income scheme as part of a $3bn (£1.75bn) anti-poverty plan.

 Around 84,000 people with physical and intellectual disabilities who are unable to work will receive $18,029 (£10,517) a year by 2023, taking them over the state’s $18,000 (£10,500) poverty threshold, the Montreal Gazette reports.

The project, which largely targets single people, intends to bring some 100,000 people out of poverty by 2023, government officials told reporters.

However, The Independent says anti-poverty groups have criticised the plans, “claiming they do not go far enough and that the offer of support should be unconditional”.

Campaigner Serge Petitclerc told CBC News that the plans will create two different classes of people in poverty. He said that while those who have severe limitations preventing them from working will receive support, others living in poverty are still expected to find employment and will lose out under the scheme.

Meanwhile, Quebec’s main opposition leader, Jean-Francois Lisee, also criticised the proposed basic income measure, saying it only benefits a small portion of the population and is “far from the general idea of guaranteed minimum income”.

Canada has led the way in trialling basic income schemes. Quebec’s neighbouring province of Ontario is currently conducting an experiment with 4,000 participants to see if it improves the lives of those on low incomes or people receiving benefits.

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