The findings were publicized at a lauch event
on the referred day, organized by the McMaster Institute for Health Equity taking place at the L.R. Wilson Concert Hall, and having Hugh Segal as a guest. From the new study conclusions, it can be read:
- Everyone who received basic income reported benefitting in some way.
- Many recipients reported improvements in their physical and mental health, labour market participation, food security, housing stability, financial status and social relationships.
- Basic income also had a noticeable impact on the use of health services, with many of the survey respondents indicating less frequent visits to health practitioners and hospital emergency rooms.
- For a significant number of participants, basic income purportedly proved to be transformational, fundamentally reshaping their living standards as well as their sense of self-worth and hope for a better future.
- The majority of those employed before the pilot reported working while they were receiving basic income. Many reported moving to higher paying and more secure jobs.
- Those working before the pilot reported even greater improvements on some measures of well-being than those who were not working before.
More information at:
Laurie Monsebraaten, “Did basic income drive people to quit work? Not according to a Mac study of recipients“, The Hamilton Spectator, March 4th 2020
A new report from the Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) details how Canada could improve income security for everyone, with three options for a basic income for adults, while maintaining current child benefits for those under 18.
“We’ve seen interest in basic income grow far beyond theoretical debates. BICN is now frequently asked what it would look like in Canada,” said Chandra Pasma, a member of the BICN Advisory Council and co-author of the report. “Our report clearly shows there are multiple options Canadian governments could use to implement a successful basic income program.”
A basic income is an unconditional cash transfer from government to individuals to enable everyone to meet their basic needs, participate in society, and live with dignity, regardless of work status. The call for a basic income is growing, including from public health and environmental sectors, Nobel laureate economists, marginalized communities and people concerned about precarious work and technological disruption. The urgent need to reduce inequality and its costly consequences has led some researchers, advocates, and politicians to the conclusion that basic income is inevitable.
Statistics Canada’s Social Policy Simulation Database and Model (SPSD/M) was used to model the funding of the options, combining existing resources with changes to the tax/transfer system, including tax fairness measures. All options are based on BICN’s principles and goals–to reduce inequality, including inequality between women and men; prevent poverty; provide everyone with greater income security, including middle-income earners; and ensure the wealthiest individuals and corporations contribute their fair share. Each option in the report, Basic Income: Some Policy Options for Canada, meets these overall goals.
Option 1 is for 18-64 year olds based on household income, operating much like child benefits, with the $22,000/year ($31,113 for a couple) benefit amount gradually reducing as other income increases; seniors benefits remain in place.
Option 2 is similarly income-tested and is for all adults, including seniors.
Option 3 is a universal model, sometimes called a demogrant, that provides the same benefit amount to every individual adult.
“The options vary administratively so don’t get sidetracked by the size of the different up-front costs,” notes Sheila Regehr, Chair of BICN. “It doesn’t mean one is much more expensive than another. The options have similar results for people and they are all funded from similar sources.” The report also notes that other funding sources for a basic income are possible, as well as downstream savings that can help make it even more affordable.
“Basic income in Canada is not a question of possibilities, but of priorities,” said Regehr. “It is clear from child and seniors benefits that it works for many Canadians already. The federal government’s priority now must be to take leadership to make it work for everybody; we are all part of the future of this country.”
To download the full report, click here.
To download a summary of the report, click here.
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
The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) just published a new report entitled “A Basic Income for Scotland”.
The report is organized in four main sections:
- How the welfare system in the UK – and in Scotland in particular – is failing to reduce poverty and economic insecurity, within its own terms.
- Presentation of the updated findings on the basic income trial presently ongoing in Fife.
- Modelling the impact of a basic income in Scotland (by Landman Economics).
- Analysing political, legal and administrative scenarios enabling a first Scotland-wide basic income experiment, in the path for its implementation in the region.
The report also features direct input from potencial beneficiaries of the Fife basic income trial (which is still under study / consideration), a precious contribution from those directly affected by the current system of means-testing conditional social security. Taking the example of Fife, Painter and his colleagues have projected that “£2400 a year would half destitution and reduce relative household poverty by 8,5%. A basic income of £4800 a year would end destitution and reduce relative household poverty by 33%.” It’s relevant to notice that the Scottish living wage is currently £9 per hour, which for a regular 8 h/day job amounts to about 1440 £/month. So, these basic income amounts under consideration are only 14 and 28% of what it takes to live comfortably in Scotland.
Anthony Painter summarizes how a basic income in Scotland could be tested within a whole set of other public policies in place:
“In A Basic Income for Scotland we map how pilots of basic income could work with a full set of supports alongside cash payments. We call this community designed system of interlocking public, community, and employer supports wrapped around basic income a ‘Civic Basic income’.”
More information at:
Anthony Painter, “The case for basic income is growing. Scotland can take it forward”, RSA, May 8th 2019
City Leaders attendees in L.A. at City Summit. Credit to: NLC.
The National League of Cities (NLC), an organization serving the interests of 19000 cities, towns and villages across the United States territory, has released, in a partnership with the Stanford Basic Income Lab (BIL), a basic income report to serve as guide to piloting UBI in cities. Framed as a toolkit, it is directed at city leaders and aims to guide policy rather than blueprint UBI pilots. It is intended to help cities considering introducing basic income experiments, providing historical background, prior experiment reports and results and present-day efforts in that regard.
The UBI is seriously contemplated by the NLC as a possible solution – although not a panacea – to growing automation, labour precariousness and peaking inequality. Basic income is also seen as an effective way to boost entrepreneurship, while providing a solid safety net. City leaders are conscient, though, that cities are limited in their ability to introduce basic income schemes, as they are part of wider nation-state organizations and governments. However, cities can act as experimental grounds to provide results and identify hurdles, both crucial aspects of an eventual nation-wide UBI implementation.
The basic income toolkit for cities is also meant to be a piece in what has been called a Theory of Change (ToC). A ToC is a study built as a roadmap to introduce meaningful change to a complex system such as a city. It is designed to help cities articulate their short, medium and long-term goals, and, within this context, draw important and already available outcomes from unconditional cash-transfer programs. Conversely, the ToC helps in calibrating the UBI experiment, informing on which data to collect, and when.
In a nutshell, the basic income report for UBI experiments in cities issues recommendations on identifying the goals (of the experiment), choosing those involved and when these should participate, defining the choice of recipients, specifying how to measure success and creating an effective communication strategy.
More information at:
Brooks Rainwater, “Yes, Cities Can Pilot Universal Basic Income”, National League of Cities, November 9th 2018
Juliana Bidadanure et al., “Basic Income in Cities – A guide to city experiments and pilot projects”, National League of Cities and Stanford Basic Income Lab, 2018