A system where people should receive £100 a week tax free instead of traditional benefits should be tested in the UK, a new report has recommended.
The report, backed by the Labour Party, was written by Guy Standing of the Progressive Economy Forum.
It states that a version of universal basic income should be piloted in the UK as a way of tackling poverty.
What is universal basic income?
Universal basic income is the concept of providing everyone in a community an unconditional, non-means tested, government funded cash sum every week.
This could be as much as £100 a week, with supporters of the schemes saying it would help reduce poverty, stress levels and debt.
In the report Mr Standing writes, “We are living in an age of economic uncertainty, for which contributory insurance schemes are inappropriate or insufficient.
“Today a growing proportion of people are in the precariat, living bits-and-pieces lives, relying on low wages and incomes that are increasingly volatile and unpredictable and on inadequate and uncertain benefits in times of loss of earnings power.”
He claims a universal basic income scheme would help eliminate inequality, income insecurity and debt.
However, opponents have said introducing a basic income would be unaffordable for the UK and would lead to tax rises.
What is being proposed?
Pilots of the scheme are being recommended by Mr Standing as part of his report.
This could see certain communities in the UK receive up to two years worth of a basic income, with up to £100 per person and £50 per child per week being provided to each person in that community.
The basic income would replace all means-tested benefits including Universal Credit, apart from housing benefit.
While the Labour Party’s John McDonnell commissioned the study, it does not reflect Labour policy but could be seen as directing the political party in the direction of making universal basic income part of their manifesto.
Where will the pilots take place?
There are no confirmed plans for any pilots, with no specific places or communities specified in the report as the best places to start.
However, with the scheme designed to help those with the lowest income, it is most likely to be trialled in areas where it could have the most impact.
The scheme is also not government nor any political party’s policy yet, meaning it would require a change in manifestos and policy before any community or area would see the scheme trialled.