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UK: Labour Leader to Investigate Universal Basic Income

The Guardian reported on Wednesday, September 14 that UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is planning to research universal basic income.

According to The Guardian, Corbyn will make the announcement during a speech in London on Thursday, September 15.

His remarks will present UBI as a potential strategy to cope with disruptions in employment caused by automation and other economic changes:

Technological changes and the so-called ‘gig economy’ can mean increased insecurity and uncertainty across our society. It is one of the reasons I am looking at policies that can help provide more security for working households. One such possible answer may be the often-discussed suggestion of a universal basic income.

He will also, according to the report, “argue that the existing economic model fails to deliver for many in Britain”.

Last month, Corbyn stated in a HuffPost interview that he is “instinctively looking at” universal basic income. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who is managing Corbyn’s campaign for continuing leadership of the Labour Party, has been a long-time supporter of UBI, and has urged Labour to investigate the policy.

Meanwhile, Owen Smith–Corbyn’s challenger for Labour leadership–has rejected UBI, saying “I don’t think talking about universal basic income, however attractive an idea it is, is the answer.” A YouGov poll released at the end of August showed Corbyn leading Smith by 24 points among members of the Labour selectorate.

The result of the Labour leadership election will be announced on September 24.   


Heather Stewart and Jessica Elgot, “Jeremy Corbyn to investigate idea of universal basic income“, The Guardian; September 14, 2016.

Reviewed by Genevieve Shanahan

Photo CC BY-NC 2.0 Jasn

Kate McFarland

About Kate McFarland

Kate McFarland has written 496 articles.

Kate McFarland is a freelance writer and researcher. In December 2016 she received a grant from the Economic Security Project in recognition of her work for Basic Income News. Based on her experience, she has written in opposition to the monetization of volunteer labor. Despite this, she remains grateful for her supporters on Patreon (though she prefers anonymous donations to guard against both potential sources of bias in her work and the encroachment of market norms into her social relationships).

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