Author Archives: Peter Davies

Peter Davies is a Software Developer and long-term Liberal Democrat based in London.

Three Pledges on Universal Basic Income

In designing our version of Universal Basic Income (UBI), it goes without saying that we want to end up with a fair system. The current system is not fair in a lot of ways, some of them quite inexplicable. It follows that the changes in income for individuals and households will vary wildly and in ways we will have difficulty in explaining. The simplest I could manage was these three pledges. The numbers are for illustration only and are based on 2020-21 allowances.

Nobody will take home less than £4,000 a year.

Any version of UBI will produce a pledge of this kind. Many people won’t believe that there are people getting less than this now. The millions who are will know it. The chancellor’s attempts to compensate people hit by Covid have illustrated just how many people fall through the cracks between conventionally employed and unemployed.

Nobody on benefits will be worse off.

Since nobody understands the current system, the only way to fulfil this pledge is to keep the entire existing benefits system and adjust the final amount people get for the amount of UBI they are getting and the amount of extra tax they are paying. Any single person getting less than £4,000 and any couple getting less than £8,000  would be taken off benefits completely. We could simplify the system in ways that only made people better off such as upgrading Universal Credit so it always beats the legacy benefits it hasn’t quite replaced yet.

Nobody with an income less than £30,000 a year will be worse off.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 66 Comments

A universal bank account

Not everyone can open a bank account. A bank will only offer you an account if they think they will make money out of it, and they do that when you have an overdraft on which they can charge interest or a substantial balance which they can lend on. Poor people with poor credit histories aren’t allowed overdrafts and don’t have large balances.

Not having a bank account is one of many ways that being poor can cost you money. It also costs everyone who does business with you money, and that includes the government.

Almost everyone, however, does have at least one account with the government. It’s not a bank account, but it could be.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 26 Comments

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