UK: One thousand people hear demand for West Midlands Basic Income pilot
Photo: Crowd of over 950 people at the West Midlands Citizens Assembly (credit: Ravi Subramanian).
Mayoral candidates in the West Midlands have been challenged to take a position on running a pilot study of basic income in the region.
On Wednesday, March 29, the two mayoral candidate frontrunners, Andy Street (Conservative) and Sion Simon (Labour), were asked at a Citizens UK Assembly of 1,000 people from across the region about a range of proposals to make families better off. A basic income pilot was one of these ideas.
The candidates and the audience heard testimony from Shantella Pinnock, a nursery manager who said that basic income would have helped her team to feed their families while they were in dispute over unpaid wages. Sara Monaghan, caseworker for the UNISON West Midlands Community branch, said that this was not an isolated incident but in fact something she has dealt with repeatedly.
Simon agreed to all of the proposals put to him by Citizens UK, including the basic income pilot, which also features in his manifesto. Street did not make a commitment to the basic income pilot proposal, but did say, “I’m fascinated, interested in this, I want keep my mind open to it. Let’s see the research from elsewhere and then let’s work towards it.”
A pilot of basic income has already made it into the West Midlands People’s Plan, a local manifesto for the future mayor, which was developed from a series of listening workshops last summer. UNISON West Midlands region also included it in their 20-point manifesto for the mayor.
James Burn, the Green Party candidate, has made clear his support for a basic income pilot in the local media. Basic income has been a Green Party policy for over 30 years.
Citizens UK is a non-partisan civil society alliance of faith, education, trade unions and community groups.
Reviewed by Kate McFarland and Russell Ingram