Tag Archives: basic

Welsh Secretary is whining because he read about UBI experiment online. But is that it, really?

Why so sad, Simon? The Tory Secretary of State for Wales is upset that Universal Basic Income might be tried out in Wales. What if – God forbid – it’s a success?

Simon Hart has made a big mistake, shouting about the Welsh Government’s Universal Basic Income experiment too soon.

He’s all upset because Wales’s First Minister, Mark Drakeford, has announced that the Welsh Government will run a pilot scheme.

He reckons Drakeford jumped the gun by announcing it in a story he read online (this one?*) before talking to the Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions, which runs state benefits.

In fact, it seems to This Writer, Hart is the one who’s jumping the gun.

Drakeford, a long-term supporter of UBI, realised before this year’s local elections that he could end up leading an Assembly in which a significant number of members also support it.

In the event, counting himself, 26 of the 60-strong Welsh Assembly want UBI trials.

So he has begun research into that possibility. It clearly hasn’t gone very far because when I ran the story he was seeking expressions of interest from unitary authorities and now he’s talking about giving it to people leaving care.

It is far too early to be talking with the Treasury, DWP or any other official organisations about this because it might not come to anything, despite the good intentions of all concerned.

But being premature isn’t the big mistake I think Simon Hart has made.

His big mistake was showing how much he hates the idea of UBI:

Mr Hart said he agreed with previous comments made by the Welsh economy minister Vaughan Gething in 2018 – when he was health minister – that the idea was “out of touch”.

The UK government, which controls benefits, has said it did not think it would be an incentive to work.

The problem, for Tories, is that in many cases the only incentive to work at the moment is the avoidance of extreme poverty and the threat of death due to benefit deprivation according to – guess what? – Tory rules.

Universal Basic Income scheme would take away that threat, but would still leave people living at subsistence level.

The difference is that, rather than forcing the worst possible pay and conditions on possible employees and saying, “take it or leave it,” employers would have to start offering genuine incentives for people to take their jobs.

That is anathema to Tories. It means they and their business-oriented friends would end up taking a smaller cut of their firms’ profits, because employees would be able to demand what they’re actually worth.

That’s what Simon Hart revealed to us: he isn’t opposed to UBI because it’s “out of touch” or because of any inter-governmental lack of manners; he hates it because it offers dignity to working people.

And to those without jobs, come to think of it.

*I doubt it, although the tweet that I used came from a source that was new to me. Why can’t the BBC credit social/online media sources that published stories first? Is it some weird neurosis – worry that someone else is doing better news reporting?

Source: Universal basic income: UK government ‘not told’ about Welsh plans – BBC News

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Universal Basic Income pilot scheme to be launched in Wales. May I suggest Powys?

Money: a Universal Basic Income scheme guarantees that people receive enough money to support them, at all times. Some claim that this discourages them from working, but this is nonsense. Everyone wants more than the bare minimum, right? Or is the problem that employers only offer the bare minimum?

This is great news.

The Labour-run Welsh government was softly suggesting that it might support a Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilot scheme before the local elections.

But the election result has put 25 AMs in Cardiff Bay who signed a pledge promising to put pressure on governments and councils to launch trials.

That seems to have been enough to encourage Mark Drakeford to green-light projects in Wales, to be organised by new Social Justice minister Jane Hutt:

This Writer has had contact with Jane Hutt. I asked her for advice on a matter involving an acquaintance of mine and she took the time to provide a very full and helpful response. I think she is an effective and responsible public servant and that this project is in good hands with her.

The Guardian‘s article suggests that Rhondda Cynon Taff is among several Welsh councils that have expressed an interest in running a UBI pilot. I hope that my own home county – Powys – has also done so.

Powys is the biggest and most rural county in Wales, with many employment problems associated with having a sparse population. UBI could hugely help people here by removing the threat of sanction associated with the current benefit system and allowing people to concentrate on tackling local issues in a creative and adaptive way.

And it would be a real feather in Mr Drakeford’s cap to be able to say he’d managed to make UBI work across an entire quarter of Wales.

Source: Wales to launch pilot universal basic income scheme | Universal basic income | The Guardian

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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: are people with disabilities being left to starve – in breach of the Tory government’s pledge?

Checkout: it seems the Tory governent may be encouraging people with disabilities to check out of LIFE, after promising to arrange supermarkets to deliver groceries to them and then reneging on it.

Claims that some people with disabilities could slip through a government safety net and be left to starve are understated. Where is the safety net?

According to Disability News Servicethe government announced that 1.5 million disabled people had been categorised as “extremely vulnerable” to the virus and would receive regular deliveries of basic groceries if they do not have their own support network of friends and family.

The list includes those with severe respiratory conditions, many people on immunosuppression therapies, and those with certain cancers.

DNS quoted a disabled Baptist minister who raised concerns that people with disabilities who were not on the government’s list would be left to starve to death.

But here’s my concern:

I have family members who qualify for this help – according to the criteria listed by the government – and haven’t heard a single word about regular grocery deliveries for them.

It raises the question: who actually is on this mythical list of people who qualify for such deliveries? Who compiled it? Does it exist at all?

Or is it as fake as the government’s claims about personal protective equipment, coronavirus tests and ventilator supplies?

Remember: the government has ordered the NHS to deny coronavirus treatment to anybody with the disabilities in its list, if they contract it.

This Site would be keen to hear from anybody who has been contacted about receiving deliveries of supplies from supermarkets – on grounds that their health condition qualifies them for it.

Let’s find out the truth of this.

Source: Coronavirus: Blind Baptist minister fears disabled people could be left to starve – Disability News Service

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