Tag Archives: income

Wales is trialling a £1,600 a month Universal Basic Income for care leavers | Left Foot Forward

It’s all happening in Wales!

I bet UK Labour members are eating their hearts out that they’re stuck with Keir Starmer, who probably wouldn’t dream of allowing such a policy in a million years.

The Welsh government has announced that young adults leaving care in Wales will be offered £1,600 a month for two years as part of a universal basic income trial.

That means around 500 18-year-olds will be receiving the money as a ‘safety blanket’ as they enter adulthood. The payments will begin from 1 July and the Welsh government hopes that it will help them “on a path to live, healthy, happy and fulfilling lives.”

Read more: Wales is trialling a £1,600 a month Universal Basic Income for care leavers – Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate

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Sunak’s non-dom wife to pay UK tax on overseas income after being dragged to it

Rishi Sunak: I use this image a lot because I think it looks like his “nervous” face. Trouble is, it might also be his “angry” face. 

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s non-domiciled wife Akshata Murthy has agreed to pay tax in the UK on her overseas income after he came under fire for it.

Her decision to change her tax arrangements follows accusations of hypocrisy against the chancellor, with opposition parties saying Mr Sunak’s family is benefiting at a time when the cost of living is going up.

The BBC estimates Ms Murty would have avoided £2.1m a year in UK tax through her non-dom status.

Ms Murty said her tax arrangements had been “entirely legal”, but added: “It has become clear that many do not feel it is compatible with my husband’s role as chancellor.

“I understand and appreciate the British sense of fairness and I do not wish my tax status to be a distraction for my husband or to affect my family,” she said.

It’s the right choice – but This Writer can’t help thinking it’s for the wrong reason.

As the wife of the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ms Murthy was rightly expected by the people of the UK to accept the same tax conditions as were being forced on us by her husband,

But it never occurred to her to do that. She had to be dragged to it.

This happens with politicians – and I’m not going to blame just the Tories for it – and those connected to them, all the time.

She was happy to take dividends from one of her companies based in Russia, while the rest of us were sanctioning that country and its businesses – until she was found out.

She was happy to avoid UK tax by claiming non-dom status – until she was found out.

And it does reflect poorly on Sunak himself; he must have known that it was not a reputable way to behave but he allowed it to happen all the same.

And then he tried to brazen it out by claiming he was being discredited by proxy and that his wife was being used to attack him.

He knew that his job made it wrong. If he didn’t, he should not be in that job – or in Parliament.

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Spring Statement analysis: UK is facing biggest drop in disposable income since records began

Rishi Sunak: he’s squeezing you until your pips squeak. How do you like it?

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spring statement – and the pitifully few measures he announced in it to counter the cost of living crisis that he helped create – means citizens are facing the largest fall in disposable income since comparable records began in the 1950s.

That was the verdict of the independent Office of Budget Responsibility, as reeled off on the BBC’s Politics Live.

See for yourself:

Unless you are a millionaire, you’re probably going to face money trouble.

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#BorisJohnson’s lies: he says your income has rocketed, so why can’t you afford to live?

This was perhaps the most offensive lie Boris Johnson told in Prime Minister’s Questions on January 5, 2022.

He said income inequality in the UK has fallen.

In a country where poverty is “steadily increasing”, according to the Office for National Statistics, while billionaires have boosted their own income massively, this is an insult to the millions of us who are struggling to make ends meet.

When one adds in the fact that he lied about child poverty – it is increasing, not decreasing – the insult is overwhelming.

Here’s the video evidence:

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Welsh Labour is finalising plans for UBI pilot that could slash poverty and galvanise the economy

Mark Drakeford: Wales’ First Minister has promised to devote the rest of his time in office to rolling out a Universal Basic Income that will lift everybody in Wales out of poverty.

While England suffers under Boris Johnson’s tyranny, Wales may soon prosper under a coalition of Labour and Plaid Cymru led by Mark Drakeford.

Flagship policy is Drakeford’s plan to roll out a Universal Basic Income that could slash poverty by at least 50 per cent in a stroke. A pilot is planned for the spring involving young people leaving care, with other groups to be added.

The aim seems to be to find a way of introducing it without provoking sanctions from the deeply neoliberal – and poverty-encouraging – UK government run by Tory Boris Johnson in Westminster.

It seems the aim is to present Johnson with an argument he can’t refute, like showing the plan improves economic activity by giving people more spending power – as indicated by research from the Autonomy think tank.

According to Autonomy’s report, an introductory UBI of just £60 per week for adults aged 18-65, across the whole of Wales, would immediately cut poverty in half – and child poverty by two-thirds (to 10 per cent from 28 per cent, currently the highest level in the UK).

Pensioners would get £175 on this system, and pensioner poverty would be cut by 61 per cent.

A more substantial (and, yes, more expensive) UBI rate would almost wipe out Welsh poverty entirely. It is suggested as a long-term goal for policymakers.

The report forecast that UBI could create £600 million of extra spending in Wales by putting more cash in the pockets of lower-income households – the group acknowledged to spend most of its income into the economy, rather than saving it.

This would generate tax income for the Welsh government, allowing it to push on with further progressive policies.

The income security provided by UBI will improve the nation’s health and increase life expectancy – people in Wales will be able to expect longer and healthier lives.

And people will enjoy more freedom to try new things like finding appropriate jobs, starting businesses of their own, or improving their education or skills. These are all things that the Tory system of means-tested and heavily-restricted benefits suppress.

And the Welsh people support it by a clear majority. Surveys show 69 per cent of the Welsh public want UBI, while only 11 per cent oppose it.

And the First Secretary of Wales, Mark Drakeford, has said he will devote the remainder of his time in office to rolling out UBI in Wales.

This could be hugely important, not just for Wales, but for UK politics as a whole.

As England sinks into the mire of Tory corruption, its people forced deeper and deeper into poverty by higher costs for groceries, commodities and – very soon – health care, they may find themselves staring across Offa’s Dyke at a land of healthy, happy, people in a country that is moving forward, not downward.

The Tories will do their best to obstruct it, of course, but they can’t stop it. Indeed, any overt attempt to do so will be rightly condemned as anti-democratic.

Done properly, it may stand as a demonstration of the harm being done by Tory – and Westminster Labour – neoliberalism that promised us increased wealth for the rich minority that would trickle down to the rest of us once they’d had enough but only proved that the rich minority never have enough and enjoy keeping the rest of us in poverty and misery anyway.

In short: this could be the pebble that starts an avalanche, overturning failed right-wing economics for good.

Or am I overstating it?

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Will ‘legacy’ benefit claimants get £1,500 in backdated Covid-19 ‘uplift’ after High Court challenge?

The High Court has begun to consider whether it was unlawful of the Conservative government to deny claimants of ‘legacy’ benefits the £20 uplift it gave to people on Universal Credit.

The court granted permission for a judicial review on April 27, but the case has been much-delayed, with the hearing postponed from September to November 17, and then the second day being moved to November 19 – but it is happening.

The case has been brought by two recipients of Employment and Support Allowance who used Legal Aid to instruct law firm Osbornes Law.

A press release from the firm states:

Despite them having an equivalent entitlement to the ‘standard allowance’ of UC, simply because they were in a different part of the system, 1.9 million people on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) have been without this increase, which many have called a ‘lifeline’.

Claimants of Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance have also been excluded.

Many have argued that this is unfair, including the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee: “It’s simply not right for people to miss out on support just because they happen, through no fault of their own, to be claiming the ‘wrong’ kind of benefit.”

We are pursuing this legal challenge based on the proposition that the pandemic means those dependent upon basic allowances are facing higher basic living costs, and yet despite their very similar circumstances, only some of them receive a Covid-specific uplift to help meet those costs.

This unfairness calls for a properly evidenced justification, particularly as almost 2 million disabled people are disproportionately affected by this decision and the pandemic generally.

Thus far the Government has failed to provide any objectively verifiable reason for the difference in treatment of people in essentially identical circumstances.

If the Department for Work and Pensions loses, the more-than-two-million people affected could each be entitled to up to £1,500 in backdated extra payments.

The start of the case was marked by a huge show of support for the case outside the High Court, by groups including Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and Unite Community, the MS Society, SNP MPs Marion Fellows and David Linden, and Labour MPs Debbie Abrahams, Marsha de Cordova and John McDonnell:

The outcome of the case is unlikely to be announced on Friday (November 19).

Let’s hope it doesn’t take as long coming out as the judgement in the libel case between Rachel Riley and former Jeremy Corbyn aide Laura Murray. That was heard in May and the verdict is still unknown, half a year later.

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Mark Drakeford attacked for speaking at ‘Trot jamboree’ – to bring UBI into disrepute?

Mark Drakeford: Wales’ First Minister is far more successful at elections than Keir Starmer. Is this the reason he is under attack?

Right-wing headbangers have been laying into the UK’s most successful Labour politician – because he is to attend a discussion of a favourite project at a Labour Conference fringe event.

He will be speaking at Where next for Universal Basic Income? Turning a Transformative Policy into Action: UBI pilot in Wales alongside Welsh Labour MP Beth Winter and co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network, Guy Standing – neither of whom have attracted any criticism at all.

Yet again, the weapon being used is guilt by association; the event is to be attended by people who have been falsely smeared as anti-Semites so the loony right is using this as an excuse to smear Drakeford.

Perhaps they’re just jealous because Drakeford actually wins elections while Keir Starmer’s record in that area is singularly lacking.

So we see Eluned Anderson, a regional ambassador of the Holocaust Educational Trust, saying, “The First Minister of Wales should not be sharing a platform with members who have been expelled from the party. The damn state of this.”

Yes indeed – look at the “damn state” of her comment. A man goes to an event to raise the profile of an idea that will improve the lives of millions and she’s bleating because somebody else will be somewhere nearby. Pathetic.

Then there’s swivel-eyed John Haywood, a Labour councillor for Ringwood North in Hampshire, which is nowhere near Wales so we may conclude that he doesn’t know Drakeford or have any qualification to comment on him.

He’s the origin of the catchphrase “Trot jamboree” that has been taken up by the press: “Very very disappointed that Mark Drakeford is on the bill at Twit Festival, which is basically a Trot jamboree taking place in Brighton at the same time as UK Labour party conference.“

For the record, not a single Trotskyist person or organisation has been invited to the event.

Next up: Wales Against Antisemitism: “Why does Mark Drakeford, as First Minister of Wales, think it appropriate to speak at this event, given antisemitism controversies involving many of his fellow speakers?”

I wonder whether this straightforward guilt-by-association smear would provide enough grounds for Ms Winter and Mr Standing to sue for libel.

These attacks are repellant and so are the people making them. They are indicative of the worst kind of political opportunism – accusing people, not because of something they have done, but because of unsubstantiated accusations against completely different people who won’t even be at the event.

(Or at least, we have no reason to believe that Jeremy Corbyn or Ken Loach will be at the talk. It would be nice if they were, though.)

Of course there has been an online backlash from people who seem to be more mentally-balanced.

Here’s a very pertinent comment:

How do the creepy extremists listed above feel about Starmer and Nandy attending a “Trots convention” alongside people who may have been excluded from the party since they were there.

That’s enough reason for Starmer and Nandy to be excluded, isn’t it? According to current Labour disciplinary practices, that is.

Ah, but here’s a possible explanation of why that is unlikely to happen:

Well we certainly can’t accuse Starmer or Nandy of socialism!

There has also been a lot of straightforward support for Drakeford, from people who want to hear what he has to say:

Yes indeed.

Ultimately, this could be interpreted, not as an attack on people who have been accused of holding controversial views – but an attempt to silence a progressive idea.

In attacking Drakeford, these swivel-eyed loons are dragging the idea of Universal Basic Income into disrepute – again, by “guilt through association”. Is that the real agenda?

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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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Hardship for one in three people by May as Tory plans to impoverish us grind onwards

Small change: ironically, that’s probably how the Tories think of the 21.7 million people they’ve tipped into poverty.

One in three people will be living in hardship by May, according to a report by the New Economics Foundation.

This means 21.7 million people will still not have a decent standard of living even though the £20 per week Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit uplift has been extended.

Here’s Charlotte Hughes:

The report goes on to say that 12.9 million of the people in financial difficulty will be receiving less than 75% of the Minimum Income Standard which is defined as being £19,200 for a single person and £37,400 for a family of four.

Despite the furlough scheme, unemployment has continued to rise over the last year. According to the latest government data it shows that unemployment has increased by 1.3% points higher than the previous year. It also also shows the largest annual decrease in employment since the aftermath of the financial crisis. This being half a million fewer people employed than there was last year. Redundancy rates have also risen from 8.4 per thousand on the year, to 12.3 per thousand employees.

This leaves millions of people that are now dependant upon our social security system to support incomes, help with housing costs and to feed people.

At the time of writing the latest government data reveals there are 5.9 million people on universal credit with 3 million receiving housing benefit, 2.5 million receiving personal independence payment, 1.9 million receiving employment support allowance, 1.4 million receiving disability living allowance, and 0.3 million receiving jobseeker’s allowance.

We know that the UC/WTC uplift will continue until September but after that, claimants face a “cliff-edge” situation that could tip a further 1.1 million people into poverty.

But, you know what?

None of them will be members of the Tory government or doners to the Conservative Party, so they don’t matter. Do they?

Source: 21.7 million people will be living in hardship by May despite the Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit £20 uplift. ‹ The poor side of life ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

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