Universal basic income, radicalism and new parties: pilot podcast #3

As universal basic income (UBI) is popping up as an issue in the Liberal Democrat leadership contest between Jo Swinson and Ed Davey, now seems a good time to revive an early pilot episode of the Never Mind The Bar Charts podcast I do with Stephen Tall, first released in February.

Welcome to the third, and still possibly last [spoiler: it wasn’t], pilot edition of a new political podcast featuring former Lib Dem Voice editor Stephen Tall and, er…, former Lib Dem Voice editor Mark Pack.

We may still be without a name, and I may still be mostly succeeding in stopping Stephen talking about Brexit, but this time we do kick off with a policy discussion: the pros and cons of a universal basic income.

A few follow-up links for what we discussed:

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8 responses to “Universal basic income, radicalism and new parties: pilot podcast #3”

  1. UBI does not need to be the only benefit any more than LVT needs to be the only tax. It is not part of a needs based benefit system. It’s a part of a mechanism to rebalance the lower end of the income scale in the way that progressive taxation is meant to do at the top end. If you take it primarily as a replacement for personal tax and NI allowances, reduce JSA and UC by the same amount and reduce the claw-back rate on UC to compensate for the same income being taxed, you do get a major simplification, a few million people no longer need to be means-tested and a few million more who fall between the tax and benefit systems would get a major boost to their income.

  2. Support Universal basic income and say goodbye to me – sorry there are many reasons for this – Greens had it in their manifesto and I did the sums and dropped the Greens like a hot cake

    The Big Elephant in the room is The Tax Hike to finance it and this element never features in the trials run because it instantly becomes unacceptable to the majority

    • We need to consider a Universal Basic Income seriously. Looking beyond the current COVID-19 and Brexit – end of the transition period is the looming automation revolution. There will have to be some fundamental changes in how people make an income and also the tax system. Some have suggested taxing robots and other a resource tax. We can not be reliant on Income Tax long term. We must look at what the viable options are.

  3. When the Compass think tank proposals for a universal income was published earlier this year, I did a back of the envelope calculation to see how it would affect my household (two pensioners on only just above average pension income) and found it would probably triple our tax bill. The New Economics Foundation’s proposal for a weekly national allowance replacing the personal tax allowance looked far more viable, although as far as I could see, it would still raise taxes for people on median incomes without any improvement in services, which would still be a difficult sell.

  4. Guy Standing’s term “Common Dividend” describes far better than UBI what we should be aiming for. When we receive an income as payment for our efforts and investments a part of that income is due to the use we have made of our common heritage (social, financial, legal and commercial systems, technologies and resources) that have been developed by past generations, that is “the commons”. If we all pooled, say, 25% of our income into a fund which then paid out an equal dividend to all of us, our resulting net income could then become our income for tax and benefit purposes. We could all have an account with the fund which for average earners would be in balance (with an average income of £28,000, £7,000 would be paid in and £7,000 received as the common dividend).

  5. In considering UBI itself, rather than several alternatives having lesser support, should
    not the PRINCIPLE of providing financial security for disadvantaged millions in the
    U.K take precedence over instincts of selfish preservation of the status quo, all the more
    so when equitable means of raising the necessary taxation have not yet been examined ?

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