The Liberal Democrats in Hull have tabled a motion to Hull City Council that calls for the Chief Executive Matt Jukes to write to Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, requesting Government support to pilot Universal Basic Income (UBI) in Hull.
The Liberal Democrat Councillor Paul Drake-Davis, is moving the motion in a bid to tackle “increasing job insecurity” and says Universal Basic income will “help people reach their full creative and economic potential.”
Similar motions have been passed recently by Liverpool City Council and Sheffield City Council. In addition, UBI Labs have been set up to explore the potential of the policy being piloted regionally in Leeds, Sheffield and Kirklees.
Paul Drake-Davis as added, just before the actual meeting at Hull City Council, over which his motion on “local economy and the Universal Basic Income pilot” was to be presented
We live in a world of increasing job insecurity, where more and more people in Hull and across the UK are struggling to plan and build a better future for themselves and their families. Instead, people are just focused on surviving month-to-month, there needs to be a change to the system.
I feel Hull, being a pioneering and progressive city, should join groundbreaking studies which are already taking place across the country to see if a Universal Basic Income has the potential to positively transform the lives and thereby the economy, wealth and wellbeing of our city.
The motion itself argues that UBI “has the potential to improve wellbeing and provide another boost to our local economy and share out prosperity in the city by safeguarding its most vulnerable residents”. It draws attention to present-day economic precariousness, and job insecurity, which are threatening people’s livelihood, and so calls for a UBI pilot scheme in the city of Hull.
As a result of the above-mentioned meeting, the motion at stake was passed, although much is still to be done, regarding organizing and securing funding for the UBI experiment.
Gaspesie and Îles-de-la-Madeleine regional public health director Yv Bonnier Viger is convinced that basic income can have dramatic positive effects on people’s health. So much so that the local public health sector, plus other regional organizations focused on health, well-being and poverty alleviation, are pushing for a 20-year long experiment in these two localities, also including Bas-Saint-Laurent.
Viger already knows the usual results of basic income experiments: “The experiments done around the world have always given results that go along the same direction: reducing mortality, violence, urgent care visits, hospitalizations, etc.”, he says. Moreover, he is also aware that people (according to experiments) do not use unconditional cash to acquire superfluous things, or to stop working as a result of receiving it. In this context, an (basic income) experimental setup in this region would expectedly be confirming these same results tested at other locations.
This setup is being considered as a negative income tax (NIT), after knowing each recipient declared annual income. After surveying true living costs in the three municipalities abovementioned, the idea is to dispense (every two weeks) unconditional cash gradually, for all those earning less than 40000 CAN$/year. The income starting point – someone earning 0 CAN$/month – would then become 17500 CAN$/year, which approximately amounts to Quebec’s official poverty line.
Financing the experiment would be based on replacing conditional social aid already in place in the region, without touching, however, retirement income (which is based on lifetime contributions). The project’s overall annual cost has been estimated at 800 million CAN$, which is expected to diminish over time, as more savings are made available in the public health sector, social aid management and other public related expenditures.
Tami L. Gouveia (left) and James B. Eldridge (right). Picture credit to Lusoamericano (Tami) and Wikipedia (James).
Although it is considered an unlikely pass, House Bill 1632, which would put in place a basic income pilot test in the state of Massachusetts, is being discussed at the local parliament. This pilot program would broadly consist on unconditionally dispensing 1000 $/month to 100 randomly selected citizens, for a three-year period of time. Random selection would occur from “three economically diverse cities or towns”, from which one would be a rural setting.
The presentation of the bill has spurred discussion among state lawmakers and politicians, initiated by Democrats Sen. James B. Eldridge and Rep. Tami L. Gouveia, with the support of the Department of Housing and Community Development. Under the referred bill, the latter would study the effects (e.g.: economic and institutional inequalities) of the rolled out basic income pilot test, and submit a final report after three years.
Ras Baraka, present-day mayor of Newark, has announced the intention of rolling out a universal basic income (UBI) pilot program in the city. Newark, a city just outside Manhattan island, is plagued by poverty (around one third of its population lives under the poverty line), and that is the prime motivation for going through with the pilot.
Baraka has said that “We believe in universal basic income, especially in a time where studies have shown that families that have a crisis of just $400 a month may experience a setback that may be difficult, even impossible to recover from”. No specifics were put forward on how or when this pilot is going to be executed, but the idea is to test what happens when people are given an income, regardless of their employment status. Those specifics will be studied by his administration staff, as part of the pilot’s planning.
If Newark goes ahead with this UBI pilot program, it will be the second city in USA to carry on an experiment with unconditional cash stipends, after Stockton, California. The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) had been planning the experiment for about 18 months, before it started in February 2019. Under the SEED pilot, 130 adults will receive 500 $/month, unconditionally, for 18 months, while monitored for spending and saving habits, their quality of life and financial stability.
It was in September 2017 that the Scottish Government decided to support local authorities – namely Fife, City of Edinburgh, Glasgow City Council and North Ayrshire Council – so these could conduct feasibility studies on potential basic income pilots within their districts. A 250 000 £ fund was made available by the government, complementing the common resources shared by these localities for this innovative pursuit.
The feasibility phase is projected to end in March 2020, precisely a year from now. Although the study is being managed locally, within the cited localities, it is being developed together with governmental institutes like the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Her Majesty’s (HM) Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland, without which future basic income pilot schemes in the UK cannot be rolled out. This initiative is even more important, within UK’s internal organization, knowing that employment, health and safety, and social security policy are reserved matters, which means these are dealt centrally at Westminster Parliament.
Responsible officials for the study, also named the Steering Group, have been engaging with all the cited governmental institutes, plus learning all available information on other basic income-like experiments around the world, and attending Conferences focused on basic income (such as the last BIEN Conference in Tampere, Finland). These officials, and their associated team, are expected to present an interim report in autumn 2019, culminating at the presentation of a final report by March 2020.
Even though the feasibility study is still in its infancy, an update on the work’s progression has already been released (March 5th). It is scheduled as indicated below, in which Phases 1 and 2 have already been concluded (Phase 2 is just ending).
Phase 1 (ended)
May 2018-October 2018
Local authority partners content with objectives
Identified clear research questions
Phase 2 (just ending)
November 2018-March 2019
Agreed on outcomes of interest (individual and household income; changes in adult and child poverty; labour market participation; individual and community empowerment; health, well-being and education; experience of the social security system)
Identification of 11 possible models for basic income pilots
Identification and commissioning of research activities (social benefits – basic income interactions; economic modelling of basic income; direct impact simulations on household income and poverty)
Identification of appropriate funding and delivery mechanisms
April 2019-September 2019
Upon evaluation, decision from the Scottish government to go ahead with the pilots
Upon evaluation, decision from the included localities to support implementation (of the pilots)
October 2019-March 2020
Presentation of detailed methods for the experiment, costing and baseline data identifies
Secure funding and delivering mechanisms to start the pilot
As immediate next steps, the study team will now invest in understanding how to articulate the pilot basic income with the existent Social Benefits structure (in partnership with the Child Poverty Action Group). In parallel, it will also entail “economic modelling of broader and second order impacts on the local and national economy”, as well as “modelling (of the) the impacts of CBI (Citizens Basic Income) on income and poverty”. In this core stage of the feasibility study, funding and payment option will also be analysed in detail, while interaction with the several stakeholders and partners is deepened.
It seems that the Scottish approach to a basic income pilot is mostly from the bottom-up, in an attempt to articulate the operation of existing income distribution rules with the new element of basic income. This may not only be a necessity to effectively develop the basic income pilot, but makes sense in a more general and longer-term view of implementing a basic income in the region, further down the road. In any case, further important updates will come to us in September this year.
The 2020 BIEN Congress was to be held in Brisbane in Australia from the 28th to the 30th September 2020. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the event has been cancelled. BIEN’s Executive Committee and the Scottish and Australian congress Local Organising Committees have agreed the following statement: ‘The Scottish and Australian Congress Local Organisation Committees have agreed that the current plan is to hold the 2021 BIEN congress in Scotland and the 2022 BIEN congress in Australia.’
A Basic Income is a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement. Read more