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United Kingdom: Another report concludes implementing UBI in the UK is feasible, affordable, and very progressive

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

About Andre Coelho

André Coelho has written 362 articles.

Activist. Engineer. Musician. For the more beautiful world our hearts know it's possible.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

One comment

  • Bernard Kirkham

    BIEN has carried out a massive role in putting BI on the agenda, and making it academically respectable.

    Advocating its implementation now is a political task,. It could be implemented quite happily as a conservative measure to make the dole more efficient. Or it can be the mechanism used to redistribute wealth.

    II fail to understand why no political party has yet advocated it seriously. Without a radical change in what drives our political economy, the current one dominated by the ideas “enrich yourself” and “gorge yourself”, there is no chance of solving our world crisis.

    Even the Green movement has not confronted this, by and large relying on moral pressure to change attitudes. That may be necessary, but it is not sufficient. Without radical redistribution of wealth on a world scale, human activity will pull down its own house.

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