In 1795 the magistrates of Speenhamland in Berkshire, England started a system under which farm labourers on poverty wages had their income supplemented from the poor-rates. The result was predictable. Farmers were encouraged to keep, and even to extend, paying low wages. The payment from the poor-rates became a wage subsidy to employers. Today, the Green Party, among others, wants to revive this under the name of “Citizen’s Income”, which they describe as “an automatic, unconditional payment sufficient to cover basic needs of every individual, working or not”.
This is more commonly called a “Basic Income”. Daniel Raventós, a keen advocate of the proposal, goes into more detail:
In fact they openly admitted, actually they even proposed it:
So, if a Basic Income scheme is ever introduced, it’s not likely to be more than some limited reform of the tax and benefits system. But even it were to be introduced in full it could turn out to be counter-productive for the working class by leading to an across-the-board decrease in wages.
Taken from here