UBI could ensure home and food security for all UK residents, and support the needs of those who need to self-isolate.
A public petition calling for a trial of Universal Basic Income (UBI) during the coronavirus crisis has reached over 100,000 signatures.
UBI could ensure home and food security for all UK residents, and support the needs of those who need to self-isolate. It would also keep money flowing through the economy, the petition says.
It has been supported by all parts of the UK, but particularly in Scotland, Wales and south west England.
UBI, also known as a Citizen’s Income or Basic Income, refers to an unconditional, regular payment made to every citizen of a country or territory, with some differences in amounts by demographic factors like age.
The Green Party backs the idea, and proposed introducing it by 2025 as part of a green new deal in its manifesto for last year’s general election.
Some MPs, including the SNP’s Richard Thomson and Conservative MP for Gainsborough Sir Edward Leigh have suggested the same idea in recent parliamentary debates about financial support during the pandemic.
However, in a debate yesterday, chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We are not in favour of a universal basic income, although we have strengthened the safety net for the most vulnerable in our society, with more than £7 billion invested into improving our welfare system for this year, including improvements to universal credit, employment support allowance and, indeed, the local housing allowance.”
These payments were all available more quickly, more easily and more generously than before, and would make an enormous difference to many vulnerable people, he added.
Catherine Early is a freelance environmental journalist and chief reporter for the Ecologist. She can be found tweeting at @Cat_Early76.