Tag Archives: guaranteed income

Guaranteed income: better than a second hand sandwich

The Ashdown Prize has shown there is a hunger in the Party for new policy and new radical and liberal solutions. A policy to make foodbanks more effective may address an immediate need, but why not instead make it our long-term policy to make them unnecessary?

As it stands, Britain has a system to pay people money if they lack an income. Unless they left their last job voluntarily. Or if they fail to jump through enough hoops to show that they’re looking for work in the DWP-approved manner. Or if they refuse to do unpaid demeaning labour for freeloading corporations. Or if they haven’t yet waited the statutory month of poverty after losing their job. Or if they have an illness that varies in severity, making it hard to assess. Or if they’re self-employed or otherwise on a variable income.

Enough is enough.

We have submitted a motion to FCC to consider for Autumn conference. In it we propose “an unconditional minimum level of income below which no-one is allowed to fall, guaranteed to all long-term UK residents”.

Let’s unpick that.

It’s unconditional. Yes, that means to the nasty undeserving poor that the Daily Express really doesn’t like. Yes, it means that poor people can turn down a job that’d be demeaning or bad for their career progression – just like richer people can do at the moment.

It’s a minimum not a maximum. Targetted payments such as housing benefit and additional expenses incurred by disabled people, would still be additional to this.

It’s guaranteed. It’s a proper safety net. One that’s actually safe, and not liable to be withdrawn because your bus to the JobCentrePlus was late and you missed your appointment. One that doesn’t rely on your intermittent medical condition being bad on the day that you’re booked for assessment.

It’s for all long-term UK residents. Not tied to citizenship. Not tied to people being judged to be “the right sort”. Part of our shared obligation to support everyone who is part of our community.

How might it work? Under one version, every eligible person gets a regular payment, with no strings attached on how they spend it. Tax rates are adjusted so that people who are richer are paying a little more overall to fund the payments; people in the middle stay roughly where they are as the tax rise is compensated by the payment; the poorest people, who are not paying much or any tax, simply gain extra income.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 52 Comments
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