In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Universal Basic Income has started cropping up in news headlines, with politicians from across the political spectrum petitioning to institute an emergency Basic Income in the UK. This comes out of an urgent need address the hardships people are facing due to the pandemic and remove the financial necessity for people to go to work when doing so places themselves or others at risk of being infected. Here you’ll find a roundup of the coverage the call for Basic Income has received so far. We’ve also included some links to useful background information on what Basic Income is, from CBINS and other organisations who work to raise awareness of and promote a Basic Income.
Timothea Armour, CBINS blog editor
Several mainstream newspapers have this week published pieces pushing for an emergency Basic Income:
- Rebecca Long-Bailey in the Guardian
- A letter from 500+ academics and public figures in the Independent
- Sam Benstead in the Telegraph [NB This article has a paywall]
A number organisations and individuals have proposed ways of instituting a Basic Income with immediate effect:
- Anthony Painter, chief of the RSA, who have previously conducted research to come up with models for how a Basic Income could work, comments that “Coronavirus is demonstrating why having such a complex, conditional and punitive system of cash support is fundamentally flawed…”
- Autonomy, an independent, progressive think tank with a focus on work, call for the government to act immediately, providing details of those actions in three categories: financial support, industrial strategy and delivery logistics.
- Open Democracy, an independent global media platform, published this piece by Frances Coppola which proposes Basic Income as a better alternative to one-off ‘helicopter drops’ of arbitrary sums of money for populations effected by Coronavirus.
- In the Financial Times, Daniel Susskind proposes Basic Income as a “feasible and affordable response to Coronavirus” [NB This article has a paywall]
There is also wider support than ever for a Basic Income from MPs:
- 46 opposition MPs sent a letter to Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak
- The SNP leader for Westminster asks for a Universal Basic Income during PMQs.
- An EDM (Early Day Motion) was tabled on March 16th for a temporary Universal Basic Income.
From CBINS, you can find a list of resources that cover various reports into policy making and modelling for a Basic Income in Scotland. On our blog, you’ll also find coverage with more insight into these reports, as well as the potential benefits of a Basic Income in different areas of life. The Basic Income Earth Network has lots of information about Basic Income’s background and history.