What would you do with a free £1,600 monthly?

Universal basic income is the levelling up trial that’s been getting some considerable attention.

Now, after projects testing the social welfare scheme in other parts of the world, two similar experiments for here in England are being drawn-up, one in north London’s East Finchley and the other in Jarrow, South Tyneside.

In the capital, it would see 15 participants given £1,600 per month for two years - just over £575,000 in total - in the hope it can help alleviate poverty for some of the worst-off Londoners so they can pursue studies and work.

The idea is that automatically giving trial participants the same amount of cash could also reduce the cost to taxpayers of running a complex means-tested benefits system.

But the controversial scheme’s critics say it’s costly, unproven and gives people money for nothing.

To find out more, The Leader podcast’s in East Finchley, where volunteers are working with the think-tank Autonomy to bring the scheme to life, subject to a considerable funding boost.

We’re at the Grange Big Local resident-led, lottery-funded community project, with Julia Hines, a board member and volunteer who’s helping facilitate the universal basic income trial.

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