United Kingdom: Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell affirms basic income will be piloted in the UK, if Jeremy Corby gets elected in December

John McDonnell. Picture credit to: PoliticsHome.


John McDonnell’s proposes to include a basic income pilot in the next Labour Party’s manifesto, an intent which has been going on since 2016, at least. During 2018 a working group was formed, led by professor Guy Standing, a prominent economic advisor to McDonnell and specialist in basic income and related issues, giving rise to the publication and presentation in May 2019 of a detailed report about its applications within the UK’s context. McDonnell dubs this new manifesto as “more radical” than the previous 2017 manifesto, probably also including the more urgent measures to curb carbon emissions, relating to the impending climate emergency.


McDonnell, a 40-year companion to Jeremy Corbyn in politics, is now sure that “at least one pilot” should be set up in the United Kingdom territory, as soon as the Labour Party gets elected to government and Corbyn sits as Prime Minister. This is still being internally drafted within Labour’s top advisors, but McDonnell remains confident. He has said that “we’ve had [basic income pilot] bids from Liverpool, Sheffield, [and] a couple of other places”. Meanwhile, in Scotland, a basic income feasibility study is being developed, involving the localities of Fife, Edinburgh, Glasgow and North Ayrshire.


More information at:

André Coelho, “United Kingdom: Guy Standing presenting report “Piloting Basic Income as Common Dividends”, Basic Income News, May 6th 2019

Ashley Cowburn, “General election: McDonnell vows to present Labour’s most ‘radical’ manifesto with universal basic income pilot”, Independent, November 11th 2019

Ashley Cowburn, “Labour set to include pilot of radical basic income policy in next manifesto, John McDonnell says”, Independent, July 31st 2018

André Coelho, “Scotland: How the Scottish Citizens Basic Income Feasibility Study has been evolving”, Basic Income News, March 31st 2019

About Andre Coelho

André Coelho has written 363 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.


  • Good that Labour has finally got round to this – for important context, pilots are also Lib Dem policy as of autumn, and a flat rate UBI has been Green Party policy for some time – Labour are the last of the progressive-wing UK parties to get on board with piloting some form of minimum income.

  • gespil

    … and the hope died because the Tory won again.
    Why do they keep wining?
    Is it because the people are brainwashed from childhood to think in a certain way and to vote against their best interest?

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