Tag Archives: basic income

Jane Dodds writes: Basic Income is a liberal idea and we must reclaim it

As a long-standing advocate of Basic Income I was incredibly excited that my native Wales was the first part of the UK to pilot this policy idea. I have supported the Labour Government in this process and am following developments with optimism.

The pilot is centred around young people leaving the care system. This is a particularly disadvantaged group of youngsters who ordinarily would be more or less left to their own devices when they reach their 18th birthday and are no longer considered children by the system.

There is already evidence that the generous £400 per week package is being used by these young people to go on courses, or to put down a deposit on a flat. One young person has used it to pay for driving lessons.

Even though the scheme has been criticised constantly by Conservatives in Wales, who say among other things that these young people will be taken advantage of, there is no evidence so far of that happening.

The scheme has been in place for a year and there is another year to go. The trial is being evaluated independently by Cardiff University and I am convinced that it will show that a Basic Income is good for people, for communities and for the economy.

Which is also why I am disappointed that our own party, which led the way in the UK by making Basic Income official party policy back in 2020, now appears to be backsliding in its commitment to this very liberal idea.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, a Basic Income is a regular and unconditional payment to every individual in society, as a right of citizenship.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 37 Comments

Senedd backs Lib Dem call to extend basic income pilot to heavy industry

The Senedd yesterday voted to back calls for the Welsh Government’s Basic Income (BI) pilot to be extended to workers employed in heavy industries who will be impacted by the transition of Wales to a net zero carbon economy.

The vote on the debate, which was introduced by Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds, was not binding but means the Welsh Government should now look at the feasibility of extending the pilot.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats argued that in extending the basic income scheme to communities dependent on jobs in heavy industry the sector could avoid seeing the destruction inflicted by Thatcher repeated as industry and the economy changes to meet net-zero commitments.

The leader of the Lib Dems in the Senedd, Jane Dodds said:

It is fantastic to see the Senedd support this idea. I would like to thank the cross-party support we have received and UBI Lab Wales for their support also.

The global economy is undergoing the most significant transformation seen in decades. As we confront the threat of climate breakdown, industry is having to change faster than before in order to meet our climate goals.

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Basic Income – sign the pledge!

I want to encourage all Liberal Democrat candidates in the local election to sign this pledge of support for trials of universal basic income (UBI). If you are a candidate in London you can sign a London-specific pledge.

This initiative is being promoted by the UBI Labs Network, one of the leading organisations campaigning for UBI in the UK.

The Liberal Democrats made UBI official party policy in 2020 and this is a great opportunity to show that party members up and down the country support UBI.

It may seem like a small thing to sign a pledge like this. After all, councils by themselves could not put such an initiative into action: they cannot raise the revenue to pay for it or change the tax code in ways that support it. So why bother?

And yet, and yet… every big journey begins with a single step.

Posted in Campaign Corner and Op-eds | 30 Comments

New toolkit released to equip anyone to host a “Basic Income Conversation”

Liberal Democrats are right at the forefront of campaigning for a Basic Income – an idea that Christine Jardine called “our generation’s NHS”, and potentially the foundation of a new, post-COVID social contract.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Basic Income could be the key to success in the 2021 elections

As Spring Conference starts, I have to be honest – I’m simmering with frustration.

As I’ve explored at greater length here, I feel the party leadership is at serious risk of missing the enormous opportunity that the sweep of elections in 2021 represents – failing to provide a foundation for electoral success when the key tool to do so is in their hands.

Basic Income is that tool.

Posted in Op-eds | 26 Comments

Event review: How to win with Basic Income

Nearly 200 Lib Dem activists signed up to join the “How to win with UBI” online event on Tuesday 9th March, organised in partnership between Lib Dems for Basic Income, the Social Liberal Forum, the Compass-hosted Basic Income Conversation, and justLiberals.

This was the first of three events being co-hosted by this partnership of organisations to explore what is arguably our biggest new party policy for some time.

The second event is What Kind Of UBI?, on 29th March, and this will be followed by an exciting conversation with Michael Tubbs, the man who introduced a …

Posted in Events and News | 5 Comments

25 September 2020 – conference day 1 press releases

  • Ed Davey opens Liberal Democrat conference
  • Failure on test and trace is putting public health at risk
  • Liberal Democrats back proposals for “world class” mental health support for health and care staff
  • Liberal Democrats urge Government to tackle spread of fake news
  • Time to campaign for Universal Basic Income has come, Liberal Democrats declare

Ed Davey opens Liberal Democrat conference

Speaking on the opening of the Liberal Democrats’ first digital conference today , Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has warned the coronavirus crisis is taking an “enormous toll on people’s lives and livelihoods” and urged his Party to listen, challenge Boris Johnson’s Conservatives and …

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We should argue for a temporary Universal Basic Income

It is a scary time. As Covid-19 spreads across the globe, it is causing severe disruption and panic. The shift in government policy away from gambling lives on the mass infection (so-called ‘herd immunity’) to instead falling in line with most of the rest of world in attempting to slow the spread of the virus means that the likely death toll from the outbreak has fallen dramatically.

However, the impact on the economy will be enormous and will compound the significant damage already done by Brexit. Companies are already calling in the receivers, thousands of staff are being laid off or sent home unpaid, and millions of people are facing uncertainty and fear for their family’s financial future.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 33 Comments

How we could abolish relative poverty in five years

Do we want to abolish relative poverty in five years? Here’s one way we could do it.

In December the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published its report UK Poverty 2017

The report states:

14 million people live in poverty in the UK – over one in five of the population. This is made up of eight million working-age adults, four million children and 1.9 million pensioners. 8 million live in families where at least one person is in work.

The question for Liberal Democrats is how can we eliminate relative poverty over the course of a five year Parliament.

The JRF report defines relative poverty as “when a family has an income of less
than 60% of median income for their family type, after housing costs”. They set out levels of income (after Income Tax, National Insurance and housing cost have been deducted) needed for different types of family units:

Family type £ per week, equivalised,

2015/16 prices

Couple with no children 248
Single with no children 144
Couple with two children aged 5 and 14 401
Single with two children aged 5 and 14 297

Source: Households Below Average Income 2015/16, table 2.2db

It is depressing to recognise that poverty among pensioners is increasing (from 13% in 2011/12 to 16% in 2015/16). In 2015/16 the Pension guarantee was set to £151.20 for single people and £230.85 for couples while the pension rates were only £115.95 (single) and £185.45 (couples). To eliminate poverty for couples we could increase the couple rate by 1.5% above the normal increase for 5 years (totally 7.73% compared to a shortfall of 7.43%)

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 37 Comments

Why Basic Income Should Be Lib Dem Policy

Over the last 70 years, an inexorable long-term structural change has taken place in the economy.

Source: ONS, defining ‘labour income’= wages + self-employed earnings


It’s very clear that aggregate ‘labour income’ (=wages + self-employed earnings) has declined compared to consumer expenditure, with a turning point in 1995, such that

  1. From 1948 to 1995, labour income exceeded consumer expenditure.
  2. From 1995 to 2016, consumer expenditure now increasingly exceeds labour income.

By 2016, labour income only funded 86% of consumer expenditure. 14% of consumer expenditure was funded by unearned income. This trend is structural, …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 50 Comments

Latest Social Liberal Forum publication: Universal Basic Income as a tool for tax and benefit reform

At the recent SLF Annual Conference in July, a well-attended fringe session discussed the benefits and drawbacks of Basic Income.

My contention, as Chair of this session, was that we now need to be looking more closely at Basic Income, given increasing robotisation and technological change that will massively shake up conventional work, and given that our welfare system is creaking and needs modernisation. Basic Income is a policy that seems fundamentally socially liberal, and so it seems to naturally deserve attention from the SLF and all who are socially liberal.

Therefore the SLF is very pleased …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 33 Comments

A Liberal Path Towards a Basic Income

Is the Basic Income an idea whose time has come?” asked Caron, back in February and it seems now that two-thirds of the British public agree.

The advantages seem to speak for themselves: a universal cash payment from the government, means that no one needs to starve, no one is trapped in a bad work situation, and perhaps most important from a Liberal point of view, puts the choices in the hands of the recipient not leaving them beholden to the generosity of the government.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 47 Comments

What’s wrong with the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement?

There are three huge defects in the Chancellor’s autumn statement

1 Technical

The Chancellor fundamentally believes that the government budget can and should be balanced, or even run in surplus. This basic accounting assumption drives his whole thinking. But facts prove him, and the traditional thinking of the whole financial establishment, wrong on this. He has been unable to eliminate the deficit. He will not be able to eliminate it. In modern high technology, high productivity economies, deficit is inevitable, and manageable.

There’s a huge problem in thinking here. The Chancellor approaches economic policy like an accountant, rather than as an economist. Books should balance. He talks about what we can afford, purely in financial terms. But it’s not money which gives value to the real economy, but rather it’s real economic activity which gives money its value. Economic activity creates financial value, and not the other way round. What we can afford has to be measured in real resources of people, skills, natural resources, technology and capital assets. A thought experiment demonstrates this. If it were possible to plug a machine into the earth to produce the whole GDP without labour and therefore without wages, then the money vouchers the government would have to allocate would all be a total financial deficit each year. Money does not have to be backed either by gold, or by the sale of government bonds, but only by output GDP. Deficits are here to stay. Facts support this hypothesis.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 21 Comments

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