Category Archives: Universal Basic Income

As Johnson plans a new national lockdown, Universal Basic Income is back on the agenda

Money: Three million people went without because Rishi Sunak refused to try a Universal Basic Income pilot scheme in May. More than a milliion children will go hungry over Christmas because Sunak wants them to starve; will he force starvation onto millions of adults as well?

Rishi Sunak is facing renewed demands to pilot a Universal Basic Income (UBI) scheme in the UK, after it was revealed his boss Boris Johnson is considering another national lockdown to try to halt the march of Covid-19 across the UK.

Johnson – and Sunak – rejected those demands back in April, and millions of people fell through the gaping holes in their support packages for people who were financially disadvantaged by the lockdown.

The Financial Times reported that more than three million people went hungry back then – as This Site pointed out in this article.

Meanwhile, Spain launched its own version of UBI in July, amid much discussion in the UK media. Those right-wing sources have been very quiet about it ever since, which suggests that it has been a success and they don’t want you to know.

The letter from the Cross-Party Parliamentary and Local Government Working Group on UBI has been signed by 520 elected representatives.

It says: “Millions of people have fallen through the cracks of the government’s support packages.

“The pandemic has left countless families facing poverty and extreme hardship.

“Many civil society leaders believe that Universal Credit, which has itself been linked to high mortality rates, is ill-equipped to support people through the financial insecurity arising from the recession we are about to enter.

“Economic shocks from financial, social and environmental crises are likely to continue for decades to come.

“Now is the time to act.

“The creation of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) – a regular and unconditional cash payment to every individual in the UK – could be the solution.

“A UBI would build resilience into our society and our communities, while providing the stimulus we need to rebuild our economy.”

I like this bit, which uses the Tories’ own slogans to make its point [I’ve bolded them up for clarity]: “It would level up towns and cities across the UK, allowing us to build back better.”

“With unemployment set to increase amid a shrinking job market, we urge you not to underestimate the wider costs to society of rising poverty and joblessness. These include the ripple effect of increased mental and physical health expenditure, as well as higher policing costs exacerbated by poverty. These will far exceed the costs of putting in place a Universal Basic Income.”

Back in April, the Tory excuse for avoiding UBI was that it discourages people from seeking work, but This Site revealed at the time that this is nonsense; it means people don’t have to take jobs for employers who undervalue the work they do.

Perhaps the Tories are more concerned that, having squeezed the economy so hard over the last 10 years in order to take money from working people and give it to their exploiters employers, there may not be enough to pay those who are willing to work the amount they demand, if others take the option of subsisting on the absolute minimum instead.

That’s their quandary; they have made it for themselves.

Sunak and Johnson have already caused a public relations disaster for their government and the Conservative Party by demanding that poor children be forced into starvation over the Christmas school holidays.

The choice before them now is between starving huge numbers of the population at large and causing a slight financial inconvenience to employers who happen to be Tory doners.

I don’t think they’ll make the right decision. Do you?

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Is #BorisJohnson thinking of another #lockdown so people can die – alone and uncounted – at home? Will #KeirStarmer support this?

Johnson v Starmer: in Prime Minister’s Questions they make a show of opposing each other but when it comes to depriving people of vitally-needed funds, it seems they are equally homicidal.

It seems Boris Johnson is considering a new tightening of restrictions on the public, in an effort to turn back what he has now acknowledged as a second wave of Covid-19. But is there an ulterior motive?

The first national lockdown he imposed, back in March, meant many people died alone at home – unnoticed by the authorities who were struggling to cope with hospital admissions or by neighbours, friends and relatives who were under what amounted to house arrest.

Here’s one such example:

Notice that this death was not due to Covid-19 infection. It was due to denial of Universal Credit. The lockdown meant this person was unable to seek or secure any help at all.

Remember that Universal Credit sanctions were suspended after the lockdown started, but there was no amnesty for those who were already under sanction.

How many more deaths were there? I don’t know, but to demonstrate that this wasn’t an isolated incident, here’s another:

Ms Farrell added the following:

Yes – Johnson does have blood on his hands, and will have more to wash off if he imposes any further lockdowns without checks on vulnerable people, including those who are being denied benefits.

But that blood should be shared with all those who rejected the idea of a Universal Basic Income for everybody, at least during the lockdown.

This would have ensured that nobody fell through the cracks in provision – as the examples above show obviously occurred.

Labour leader Keir Starmer was among those who opposed the establishment of a UBI – and may therefore have to join Johnson in the virtual washroom, soaping the blood off himself.

A friend of This Site made the point in a tweet responding to his attempt to publicise his virtual conference, Labour Connected:

He’ll do neither. His inactions so far indicate that this Red Tory leader wants vulnerable people to die, just as much as Johnson does.

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Spain approves Universal Basic Income – and it’s more than UK sick and disabled get

Universal Basic Income: the Spaniards are getting it (in Euros, obviously) – why can’t people in the UK have it?

Only a few weeks ago, Tories were delighting in claiming that no other nation had adopted a Universal Basic Income scheme in response to calls for the UK to adopt it during the Covid-19 crisis.

Now they can’t say that any more.

And the amount being provided to Spanish citizens will be more than people on the normal rate of Universal Credit, on Employment and Support Allowance, or on the lowest rate of Personal Independence Payment (if I recall correctly) – around £95 per week.

If anyone is wondering how we reached a point where Spain supports its people better than the UK, just remember we’ve had more than 40 years of right-wing governments and they have laid us low.

Spain’s cabinet has approved the creation of a national minimum income, according to a government spokesperson.

Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias told a news conference on Friday the creation of a minimum income worth €462 (£416.92) a month will target some 850,000 households or 2.5 million people.

The government would pay the monthly stipend and top up existing revenue for people earning less so that they receive at least that minimum amount every month, he said.

Source: Spain approves national minimum income scheme | The Independent

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Coronavirus is concentrating discontent with the benefit system – but does that include sickness and disability?

It seems the knives are out for Universal Credit.

But while academics think in terms of justice for all, Tories don’t.

Even if they accept changes to their flagship benefit, how likely is it that they will allow an end to their favourite pastime – torturing people with long-term illnesses and disabilities?

As for bringing in a UBI – Universal Basic Income that will mean nobody goes without food, clothes or a home… The Tories are sure to tell us: go whistle.

Or am I reading them wrong?

Radical changes to the welfare system are historically associated with major crises and events such as wars, civil unrest, famines or epidemics. There is no reason that it will this time be any different, says a new paper from Dr Stephen Davies, Head of Education at the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Redefining the State of Welfare argues it is very probable that Coronavirus will bring to a head discontent with the existing system that has been growing for some time and will lay bare its weaknesses, particularly that of its central element: Universal Credit.

Source: ‘Very unlikely’ Universal Credit will survive the Covid-19 pandemic – Welfare Weekly

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Coronavirus: Starmer’s Labour abandons thousands to fall through gaps in the Tory benefit system

He’s all right, Jack: Keir Starmer has an enormous salary as an MP and leader of the Opposition, plus £10,000 extra that MPs voted for themselves in order to work from home – all at the taxpayers’ expense. He doesn’t care that the same taxpayers who funded him have been left with nothing because of the coronavirus lockdown that his Parliament imposed.

Well done, Keir Starmer! What a socialist you are!

Labour’s new leader has said it would be inappropriate to impose a Universal Basic Income (UBI) benefit system during the coronavirus crisis.

This means people who have been deprived of their income by the Tories imposed lockdown are condemned to live without any money until the lockdown ends – possibly for some time after, while the nation picks up the pieces.

Mr Starmer seems entirely relaxed about this u-turn – he had previously demanded a national “income guarantee scheme” to fight the economic impact of Covid-19 and still says the benefit system isn’t fit for purpose.

His spokesperson has said that Labour will “be making arguments for a new settlement that is more simple, more effective and offers proper protection to people” after the lockdown ends – when it is no good to the people who need it most now.

Last month, Labour MP Alex Sobel led a cross-party group of more than 170 MPs and lords in demanding a move to UBI.

Spain has introduced UBI – and did so while that country was facing its highest level of coronavirus infection and deaths.

Labour’s election manifesto last year – which Starmer obviously supported – included plans to pilot UBI across the UK, with areas including Liverpool and Sheffield bidding to test the scheme.

And the new Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, is also said to be a supporter of the system.

But Starmer has said no.

Starmer is happy for thousands of people to fall through the huge gaps in the government’s current system.

Starmer is happy for them to starve.

Perhaps that’s what we should call him from now on: Starmer the starver.

Source: Labour rejects idea of universal basic income during Covid-19 crisis – LabourList

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Coronavirus: ‘Don’t call us’ say DWP as Universal Credit Claim line is overwhelmed

This is what happens when you create a system to stop people claiming benefits – and then need to pay them to millions of people.

The Tory government could just switch to a Universal Basic Income system that is straightforward and cheaper – but for some reason it doesn’t seem to want to do that.

I wonder why not?

Instead – well, read about the shambles for yourself:

From Thursday, a new frontline team will be in place to proactively call customers where additional information is required.

Customers applying for universal credit are being advised to sign-up online, where they can share details such as salary and national insurance information for the DWP to assess.

It said claims will then be reviewed, and where additional details are needed, it will get in touch with you over the phone or via your online portal.

The move, it said, is designed to take some of the worry and frustration out of submitting a claim, while speeding it up by putting an end to long call wait times.

More than 1.2 million people have applied for Universal Credit in the past three weeks, and in the past seven days more than 5.8 million calls have been made to its helpline, equivalent to three times the average per day.

That’s an awful lot of people signing up to wait five weeks before they get any money.

And they’ve overloaded the system.

On April 8, the DWP admitted access to its phone lines had to be “controlled” in order to stop critical services like NHS 111 collapsing.

Now, it is asking people to avoid its phone lines altogether.

That is not the statement of an organisation that wants to help.

It is an organisation that only wants to help itself.

Source: Universal Credit claimants sent urgent message by DWP as millions more sign up – Mirror Online

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Coronavirus: if Spain can introduce a Universal Basic Income, why can’t the UK?

Money: The UK economy has plenty but it goes to the wrong places and people fall through gaps in the system. Can Boris Johnson be persuaded to bring in a Universal Basic Income that is simple and cheap?

This is an important question: the UK has a larger economy than Spain, so why can’t the UK have a Universal Basic Income like Spain?

Instead – at the moment – we have a series of scheme for people in different circumstances, that are both complicated and costly.

UBI would be easier and cheaper.

But the Tory government won’t have it.

Why? Well, the logical answer is because Tories don’t want to supply a steady income to poor people, in a system that they won’t be able to remove again without public outcry, after the coronavirus crisis is over.

They have already said they think it discourages people from seeking work, but this is nonsense; it means people don’t have to take jobs for employers who undervalue the work they do.

Underlying this, we have evidence that Tories simply like to persecute people, and a conditional benefit system makes this possible.

But the SNP’s Ian Blackford is right – the current patchwork of schemes is full of gaps – and people are being left behind.

Spain has said the system it is introducing is an emergency measure – but if successful it would become a permanent instrument to tackle poverty.

Now, why would the Tories want to oppose that?

Source: Government urged to introduce ‘universal basic income’ after Spain move – Welfare Weekly

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