Universal basic income motion passed by Richmond Council

By The Editor

27th Jan 2021 | Local News

Could a Universal Basic Income be a way to improve the lives of Richmond residents?

Last night Richmond Council passed a motion from Green Party Councillor Monica Saunders calling for government to allow a local trial of a Universal Basic Income (UBI).

UBI in Richmond would see every resident given the same, regular payment.

It could boost the incomes of low-paid workers and ensure fewer people fall through the social security net as many are currently doing. Higher earners would effectively pay back the money through tax.

The pandemic has highlighted inequality both within our communities and between areas of our country. Lockdowns have driven up levels of debt, demand on food banks, homelessness and mental health problems due to financial insecurity.

Councils in Hull, Liverpool and Sheffield have already backed local trials of a UBI, and Islington became the first London council to pass a motion calling for a basic payment for everyone.

Trials in Finland found positive impacts on mental health, levels of debt and local economies, while proving that a UBI would not discourage people from working.

Cllr Saunders said: "The pandemic has laid bare the deep basic inequalities and precarious financial position of many in our communities, as well as the shortcomings in our welfare system. Policies designed to help people through a major crisis have failed.

"We also need to consider the shift brought about by an ageing population and technological change, with policies which support greater flexibility to support family and freedom to develop new skills and creativity.

"A UBI can serve to make us more adaptable to change and economic shocks in our personal and working lives, recognising that people have social value in numerous ways, and that access to basic needs is essential."

     

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