Author Archives: Laurence Cox

Universal Basic Services – an alternative to Universal Basic Income?

While Universal Basic Income is popular in principle, support for it falls sharply once increases in taxation or reductions in benefits to pay for it are included as this IPSOS Mori survey shows. UCL’s Institute for Global Prosperity has just published a report, proposing what they call Universal Basic Services as a less costly alternative.

The first point to make about their proposals is that only some of them are truly universal, with others targeted at the lowest two deciles. The Royal Society of Arts, who have their own Basic Income model, have already criticised it.

The Universal Basic Services proposal concentrates on four areas:

Shelter,

Food,

Communications,

and Transport.

Shelter

They propose building 1.5 million new social housing units over seven years, funded by selling long-term Gilts. This is not really contentious, but they then advocate allocating them on the basis of need to people at nil rent and Council Tax and with an allowance for utilities costs. Potentially, there is a problem of inequity here with existing Council tenants who are paying rent, Council Tax and utility bills while receiving Housing Benefit and this does not seem to have been fully worked out in the proposals – they only look at overall costs.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 23 Comments

Review of “The Joy of Tax” by Richard Murphy

Last year Richard Murphy, well-known through his involvement with the Tax Justice Network, expanded his ideas into a paperback book The Joy of Tax. His association with Jeremy Corbyn may cause Liberal Democrats to reject his ideas, but I argue here that even if we reject his solutions, which include both Basic Income and local Land Value Tax, we should take seriously his criticism of the existing tax system and his analysis of the purpose of taxation.

After a short historical introduction in which he develops the idea of tax as being the band that holds together the Social Contract between a people and their government, he examines how the Government raises its revenue. We are all familiar with the three big taxes: income tax, National Insurance and VAT, which together raise just under 65% of all taxation, national and local, but Murphy also looks at the large number of taxes that raise the remainder and the justification for them.

He covers six reasons why Governments should tax:

Posted in Books | Tagged and | 9 Comments
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    I've asked before, but have not had a response. But I wish you would ensure that when your posts appear under your name on Facebook,...
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    Cllr Jonny Tepp Couldnt agree more it is technically feasible brown field sites and existing housing land where proerties are no longer fit for purpose...
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    Peter Hirst: Like they did not expect us to abolish tuition fees
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    Innocent Bystander Now that Miliband then Corbyn have taken all those voters back and scared all the “right leaning LibDems” into voting Tory the LibDems...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 14th Aug - 11:44am
    We need a range of radical clear policies that sound interesting to the electorate such as land value taxation, abolition of SATS and that property...
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    The reason why we were able to build so many houses after WW2 wa because we had so many demopped soldiers and industry did not...