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Political foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung recommends “more detailed empirical research” on basic income for UK

The German political foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) has released a short report on digitalization in the UK and its consequences for public policy [1].

The report notes that, to this point, education and skills-training have been the central strategies to confront the effect of automation on the labor market. It concludes, however, by suggesting that it will be necessary to investigate basic income as a long-term solution:

“Education policy represents at best only a medium term solution to the problems arising from transformation. Over the long term other, much broader structural changes will have to be discussed, which will also seek to detach work from social security coverage. Whether, for example, the often mentioned unconditional basic income – above the subsistence level – could be a sustainable solution here must be subject to more detailed empirical research.”

The report was published as part of FES’s “Politics for Europe” project, which promotes the development of strong social democratic institutions in Europe. In general, basic income has not been a focus point of FES’s publications in the series. For example, a longer report on digitalization in Europe does not suggest universal basic income as a solution to the challenges presented by the changing nature of work. 


[1] Markus Trämer and Rolf Frankenberger, “On the Way to Welfare 4.0 – Digitalisation in the United Kingdom,” Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2017.

[2] Daniel Buhr, Claudia Christ, Rolf Frankenberger, Marie-Christine Fregin, Josef Schmid and Markus Trämer, “On the Way to Welfare 4.0? Digitalisation of the Welfare State in Labour Market, Health Care and Innovation Policy: A European Comparison,” Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2017.

Reviewed by Cameron McLeod

Photo CC BY 2.0 tico_24

Kate McFarland

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