FINLAND become the first European nation to run a nationwide scheme paying its unemployed citizens an unconditional monthly income.

Under the two-year, nationwide pilot scheme, which began a year ago, 2,000 unemployed Finns aged 25 to 58 receive a guaranteed sum of €560 (£475). The income replaces their existing social benefits and is paid even if they find work.

The Italian city of Livorno also ran a pilot offering a guaranteed basic income of just over €500 a month to the city’s 100 poorest families.

Elsewhere in Italy, Ragusa and Naples are considering similar trials.

In Cyprus, the national parliament passed a law that provides an allowance for every low income individual that meets certain criteria to guarantee a minimum standard of living.

Meanwhile, in Brazil in 2004, former President Lula da Silva signed into law a bill to establish a universal basic income

Under the scheme poorer families receive a direct cash payment via a government issued debit card.