A briefing paper which examines basic income-type proposals has been published by Basic Income Conversation, a new initiative powered by think tank Compass. The paper outlines how basic income would work as an emergency measure in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the prospect of a longer-term, fully established Universal Basic Income.
The paper has the support of Grahame Morris MP, who said “the need for a basic income is more pressing than ever.”
The Covid-19 outbreak has resulted in a huge upsurge of public interest in the idea of basic income. An Opinium survey of 2,002 British adults, which was carried out from 20-24 March for campaign group Compassion in Politics, found that 84% of people support the introduction of a universal basic income.
The briefing paper defines a basic income as a ‘regular cash payment that every individual receives, regardless of circumstances. It is paid in cash, regularly, to the individual, unconditionally without means test or work requirement, and universally.’
Discussion continues around both the amount of basic income that would be paid, and the way in which it would be paid. The briefing paper states that, ‘UBI Labs have called for £500 per month per working age adult and £200 per month per child for 3 months, followed by a further £1000 per adult and £500 per child for a further two months. Daniel Susskind in the Financial Times proposed £1000 per month per adult… and Rebecca Long-Bailey called for it to be set at a Living Wage rate. Autonomy, the RSA, and UBI Labs have all published in-depth proposals and delivery mechanisms on how this could be done.’
A basic income would provide an income floor that nobody could fall below, and would be the simplest and quickest way to support people during the coronavirus outbreak, as businesses and individuals face unprecedented financial uncertainty.
Many people do not benefit from the various measures that have been announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s, and are falling through the net as a result. These include people who have not been employed for two years, those who own small businesses, freelancers, people employed on zero hours or limited hours contracts, and those in insecure employment.
The paper refers to a Feasibility Study carried out by the Scottish Government, led by four local authorities in Scotland. £250,000 was invested to explore what pilots would look like and identify the ‘institutional and legislative’ barriers that come with implementing a basic income. The paper also notes that ‘local authorities in England have also passed motions calling for their area to trial the idea, including Liverpool, Sheffield and Hull.’
You can find more information about basic income, and read the full briefing paper at:
Grahame is one of 110 cross-party MPs and Peers who have signed a joint statement to the Chancellor, co-ordinated by Compass, calling on the Government to put in place the mechanisms for a Recovery Universal Basic Income.
You can co-sign the letter by following the link below: