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DWP: Universal Basic Income for all instead of 'unpopular' Universal Credit? The notion of a new Universal Basic Income that would replace all benefits including Universal Credit is on the 'brink' of being introduced in the UK; The notion of a new Universal Basic Income that would replace all benefits including Universal Credit is on the 'brink' of being introduced in the UK.

Byline: Felicity Collinson

The notion of a new Universal Basic Income that would replace all benefits including Universal Credit is on the "brink" of being introduced in the UK.

Campaigners claim that such a scheme would eradicate poverty and bring an immediate end to child destitution.

The Scottish Government is being urged to scrap sanction-led employment benefits and lead the way by launching the UK's first basic income.

And the organisation behind the encouragement is the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA),reports Birmingham Live.

The RSA wants an initial basic income of [pounds sterling]2,400 a year to be paid to every adult and [pounds sterling]1,500 to every child.

The payments for adults would eventually be doubled to [pounds sterling]4,800 each - that's [pounds sterling]400 a month per person.

Everyone would get the money, regardless of whether they were working or not.

It's unclear at this stage if any additional financial support would still be available - such as to help unemployed single people who couldn't manage rent, bills and living costs with just one basic income of [pounds sterling]400 a month.

Its report found "child destitution would vanish almost immediately" if an initial basic income was introduced, and if it reached the full [pounds sterling]4,800 it could "completely eliminate destitution in Scotland".

Speaking at an RSA event this week, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the UK Labour Party would explore the idea of paying a basic income, with the charity hoping to convince the Scottish Government to trial the idea in parts of Scotland.

Scotland is considering piloting basic income schemes in four cities, including Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Jamie Cooke, head of RSA Scotland, said: "Basic income is increasingly of global interest and Scotland is at the brink of doing something very different and bringing the first basic income pilots to the UK.

"Our research shows how an initial basic income could be introduced in Scotland in a way that is progressive, affordable and would halve destitution, while paving the way for a full basic income in the future.

"But the idea must be tested - and our engagement with Scottish citizens found support for experimenting against today's discredited Universal Credit system - which is why we suggest a robust stepping stone before a 'full' basic income is introduced.

"The idea has supporters from the SNP, Scottish Labour and the Greens, as well as others. We need to see a cross-party agreement to introduce pilots in Scotland.

"Obviously having the support of the UK Government of the day will be key, and John McDonnell's support this week makes this more likely.

"But failing this, the Scottish Government should pursue all options to delivering this - including invoking Exception 10 of the Scotland Act 2016 and developing a civil-society led UBI."

Three scenarios were modelled in the RSA's report - the status quo; a [pounds sterling]2,400 per adult basic income; and the full basic income of [pounds sterling]4,800.

It found the full basic income would be the most fiscally progressive but cost the most at 3.5 per cent of Scotland's GDP, while the partial basic income is proportionately easier to fund due to the removal of the tax allowance, costing 1.2 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product - the health of a country's economy).

Anthony Painter, director of action and research at the RSA, added: "Under austerity, we have seen the state stepping back in terms of the cash support it offers people, while increasingly stepping in to police the behaviour of the people needing cash support.

"Basic income has been tested and shown to have a positive impact on wellbeing and trust without reducing participation in the labour market overall.

"Meanwhile, Universal Credit - relying on sanctions to control individuals - has been shown to have damaging effects on health, wellbeing and trust, and creates greater economic insecurity.

"This means we must consider a basic income to promote economic security and freedom, as an alternative to today's unpopular, threadbare and hostile welfare state."

You can see how that compares to the current Universal Credit payments by using this calculator here.


Credit: South Wales Echo

Universal Basic Income would apparently eradicate destitution
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 11, 2019
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