Universal Basic Income. Should the government pay everyone £10,000?

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  • The government should give £10,000 per year to every citizen under 55, a report suggests.

    The Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) says it could pave the way to everyone getting a basic state wage.

    Background article here on UBI and Finland is trialling UBI and you can read about their experiences with it here.


    If UBI could cut the welfare system and its myriad of different payments and bureaucracy, that seems a good thing to me, but it's the universal nature of this that is "slightly" worrying.


    Why stop at £10k, why not pay £20k, £30k, or £40k to people instead and give everyone a proper income? Why work, when you get paid to do nothing?


    If we were to go down this road, could a case be made for doing away with money altogether? If you don't need to work to earn money anymore, what would be the point of having money in such a UBI world?

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  • I think it's a silly idea. For a start we'd still need a welfare system because disabled people have extra costs so will need more than the average person. Secondly, the feckless who at least now are forced to make some effort to find a job won't bother at all. And surely inflation will rise making things more expensive.


    And what do they mean by "to every citizen " anyway? Does that include children? If not what about a family with 4 kids? Are they going to get more than a family with two kids? It seems to me that they would be far better off sorting out the problems with universal credit rather than starting a another scheme.

  • The biggest drain in the welfare system is housing benefit, but I don't see any sign of that changing anytime soon.


    I'd assume they'd be a limit on the amount of kids who would receive payments, otherwise certain breeding machines would never stop.


    Your inflation point Morgan is a good one, hence why I mentioned about doing away with money altogether, because in such a system I don't see how currency could retain its value.

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  • It seems to me that they would be far better off sorting out the problems with universal credit rather than starting a another scheme.

    Completely agree with that. There are far too many people getting money from the state for no good reason other than they know how to work the system.


    I see them parking up in the disabled slots with badges yet leap, gazelle like, from their people carriers at the local carvery with hoards of kids to go and eat. Yet we have elderly who have to make the decision between heat or eat.


    Just dropping sprogs should not be a passport to a life of not having to work.

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  • ...absolutely agree. Yet we still have child benefit which encourages such behaviour.


    I am told that when I was born, child benefit didn't exist. I assumed it was something brought in around the time of the NHS. If it's only a "recent" benefit and with a large population the UK has, I see no reason to keep it.

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  • Regarding a UI I still think that it is wrong to just give people money for no return effort. You could easily get 3 or 4 adults sharing a house and be on £40K a year for watching Jeremy Kyle all day.


    If it ever came to pass I would make people give something back in return such as community service of some kind.


    It would however be ruinously expensive, given that there are approximately 42m adults in the UK between 18 and 65. £10,000 UI would cost in the region of £420b Even more if you extended it to the 12m pensioners (£120b) and then there's the 16-18 age group to consider. If most benefits were abandoned then some of this could be clawed back.

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  • I think the giving some back is key and hence my comments about money/currency.


    We only got a currency system because it became easier to exchange coins than it was for bartering some chickens for a service like shoe repairs, as but one example. If people had to do something as part of UBI, then it might not sound so ridiculous.


    Take the arts for example, most artists struggle to live and only the top ones really earn serious money, but if someone were artistically inclined under a UBI system, they could express themselves and "give" to the community via their paintings, books, pottery, whatever it might be in exchange for UBI. The difference is, that even if nobody bought their artwork, they would still get a income as they are contributing to society.


    It would be hideously expensive, I agree, but join the dots up here for a second. One of the major problems facing society today is care for the elderly. Many elderly who have children are not looked after because their own children likely have families of their own and need to go out to work to earn money.


    What if, under this scenario, the "giving back" to the community involved every adult child looking after their sick parents themselves and perhaps checking in on another elderly neighbour who has no kids in exchange for UBI and thus they wouldn't need to go out to work and earn a wage, if they're given one.


    Now, take this one further. If all elderly people who have children are looked after and those that don't get help from neighbours, consider the enormous savings to the NHS and councils who are currently swamped by elderly people with nowhere to go.


    UBI might sound totally daft and it probably is, but I'm interested in what the Finns are doing, and even in some parts of Scotland, they're trialling it too.

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  • The Finnish government has decided not to expand a limited trial in paying people a basic income, which has drawn much international interest.

    Currently 2,000 unemployed Finns are receiving a flat monthly payment of €560 (£490; $685) as basic income.

    "The eagerness of the government is evaporating. They rejected extra funding [for it]," said Olli Kangas, one of the experiment's designers.

    Looks like Finland's experiment with UBI is coming to end, but was it flawed from the beginning?


    Two thousand people were given a basic income, two thousand unemployed people that is. The article goes on to say that the people were selected randomly, but clearly they were not, as all the people were unemployed to begin with. That indicates there was some form of selection going on.


    UBI will never work if trials are done on people who have never worked, or have no intention of ever doing so. Should the Finnish trial have included people in work too? The professor in charge of the scheme wanted the scheme expanded to include those in work, but the Finnish government wasn't interested in his proposal.

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  • Basic income of £48 a week in UK urged

    Every adult in the UK should receive a weekly basic income of £48, according to the recommendations in a new report.

    The move could be paid for by scrapping more than 1,000 tax reliefs, a report by Professor Guy Standing, a professor at SOAS University suggests.

    Well, this story comes around quite regularly and rather than everyone get £10,000 now, a left leaning think tank is saying everyone should get £48 per week which adds up to £2496. A lot less than the £10k.


    So, has anyone's minds changed on Universal Basic Income? Should this system be brought in?

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