Add news
Нами Накагава — Kimi Wa Kirameki/Ты - Сияние! (feat. Ichigo Tanuki)
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021February 2021March 2021April 2021May 2021June 2021
News Every Day |

Support is growing for a universal basic income — and rightly so

Close-Up Of Paper Currency Arranged On Table
Universal Basic Income gives every adult a fixed amount of money, regardless of their employment status (Credits: Getty Images/EyeEm)

Guy Standing, professorial research associate, SOAS, University of London

Wales has become the latest country to explore the idea of a universal basic income, which gives every adult a fixed amount of money, regardless of their employment status.

Announcing plans for a pilot scheme was a bold move by the first minister, Mark Drakeford, who said he has a ‘longstanding interest’ in the idea. And he is not alone.

In Wales, a survey showed 69 per cent of people supported a trial, and a letter asking the British government to consider similar plans was signed by over 500 cross-party politicians from across the UK. Already, 32 local councils across the country have voted in favour of a pilot in their areas.

Since Covid-19, there has been a global surge in support too. In the US, Los Angeles has become the latest city to launch an experiment, and there have been trials in Canada, South Korea and Kenya. In Europe, a poll last year, covering France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain, found that more than two-thirds of people were in favour of a basic income.

Of course, there are sceptics. The Conservatives reacted to the Drakeford’s announcement by saying Wales should not become ‘a petri dish for failed left-wing policies’. But there is nothing especially left-wing about providing everybody with a basic income — it is a matter of common justice that would enhance freedom and provide basic security for all.

Paying every individual a modest weekly amount, with supplements for those with special needs, would be easier and less expensive than trying to identify ‘the poor’. And there is nothing in the concept to suggest it should replace other benefits, so no reason to claim it would increase poverty.

Nor can critics legitimately claim that basic income pilot has failed. My recent books have summarised evidence from more than 20 pilots, in rich and poor countries. None have failed. On the contrary; even though the methodology, sample sizes and durations have varied, the outcomes have been remarkably consistent.

The most common result is better mental and physical health. There are also clear improvements in nutrition, school performance, productivity, and status of women and those with disabilities. There have also been increases in work — not reductions, as critics claim there would be.

One well known pilot was conducted in Finland over two years from the beginning of 2017 until the end of 2018, and resulted in better health and slightly more work for the 2,000 randomly selected unemployed people it was given to.

My research indicates that these benefits would be far greater if the trial income had been given to a whole community, where it would bring more cooperation and greater impact on the local economy. Hopefully in Wales and elsewhere, pilots will be community based.

A matter of justice

The most common criticisms are that a basic income is unaffordable. But there are several ways by which it could be paid without steep rises in income tax — such as reducing the amount spent on tax relief for wealthy companies and individuals. Or, had the £375billion spent by the Bank of England on quantitative easing after the financial crash of 2007-08 been spent on basic incomes, everybody in the country could have received £50 a week for two years.

This leads to the ethical justification for a basic income. It is a matter of common justice, while enhancing freedom and providing basic security, which is a human need and a public good.

As a matter of justice, we should acknowledge that the income of all of us is far more due to the efforts of the many generations before us than anything we ourselves do. Even billionaire Warren Buffett knows that, acknowledging the benefits given to us by our ancestors, when he said: ‘I personally think that society is responsible for a very significant portion of what I’ve earned.’

If we allow private inheritance, then we could see basic income as a dividend on inherited public wealth created by our ancestors, paid equally because we cannot know whose ancestors contributed more or less. Critics who claim it is ‘something for nothing’ and reduces the incentive to work, should logically oppose private inheritance for the same reasons.

The pandemic has surely taught us that the resilience of all (and of the economy) depends on the resilience of the most vulnerable. The only way to ensure robustness and resilience is to have guaranteed protection — with a basic income providing an anchor of certainty and security.

Tap here to read the original article on The Conversation

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing

Share your views in the comments below.

MORE : Why is money still such a dirty word for women?

MORE : Need help with your finances? Here’s how to save money like a pro (and make a bit extra)

MORE : Millennials know so little about their finances it ‘significantly worsens’ mental health

How to get your Metro newspaper fix

Metro newspaper is still available for you to pick up every weekday morning or you can download our app for all your favourite news, features, puzzles... and the exclusive evening edition!

Download the Metro newspaper app for free on App Store and Google Play

Read also

Shock Wave: Hong Kong Destruction review – one long tick-tick-boom symphony

Christian Eriksen awake and set for tests after collapsing on pitch, as Denmark v Finland set to resume


News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here
News Every Day

Wales vs Switzerland LIVE: Stream FREE, TV channel, team news for Wales’ opening Euro 2020 clash – latest updates