Apart from experimental designs testing basic income-like policies, in small scales, theoretical evidence keeps mounting, showing that basic income is not a pipe dream, but a practical reality within our reach. Published earlier this year, a new report issued by the Compass think tank demonstrates just that. It proposes two models for change in the British social security system, one that installs a partial basic income for a cost of 28 billion £/year (approximately the benefits cut per year since 2010), and another that would rise the unconditional transfer of the first model through the operation of a “citizens’ wealth fund”.
As a summary, it can be read in the report’s conclusions:
The to models presented satisfy the feasibility tests set out earlier. Both models:
- Are progressive: they raise the incomes of low-income households at the expense of those on the highest incomes, cut poverty and reduce inequality; the greatest benefits go to the poorest;
- Provide a basic income for all, while reducing the level of sanctions; Britain would finally have a secure income floor set to rise over time;
- Become more progressive and more powerful anti-poverty instruments as basic income payments rise;
- Help to correct the gender imbalance of the present system;
- Ensure that there are almost no losers among the poorest households
- Apply a new 15% rate of income tax, an additional 3% on each rate of income tax, and an extension of national insurance payments.
It is still worthy to say that the 28 million £/year figure cited above can be collected in a variety of ways, for instance reversing the freezing of diesel and petrol excise duties since 2010 (9 billion £/year), reversing cuts in corporate tax rates from 18 to 28% (26-28 billion £/year), reduce the number and value of tax reliefs (ex.: eliminating the “entrepreneur’s relief”, saving 2,7 billion £/year), phasing out financial support to home owners and private landlords (which mainly benefit property developers) (8 billion £/year), among other possibilities. All these imply reversing tax cuts and attributed benefits to the relatively wealthier members of British society, which makes them quite progressive measures.
More information at:
Stewart Lansley and Howard Reed, “Basic Income for All: From Desirability to Feasibility”, Compass, January 2019