I have been contacted regarding a universal basic income.
The idea of a universal basic income has often been debated, and I hope that UBI-style systems continue to be subject to research and discussion so that our approach to welfare can remain informed.
A report from Compass, a think-tank, and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, found that UBI could be prohibitively expensive, would create too many losers among the poorest families, could dramatically increase the number of children living in poverty (as was also found in modelling by the Citizen’s Income Trust), and could dramatically increase inequality because it would not account for individual needs and circumstances.
The report found that the additional tax revenue required to support such a system could be as much as £160 billion. Such a figure would indicate that UBI systems would be unaffordable, even when the effect on individual behaviours in the labour market are not considered.
Our current welfare system, built around Universal Credit, seeks to incentivise claimants to move off benefits and to provide tailored support to help people find work and increase their earnings.
I will continue to follow the research closely and am grateful to constituents for raising this matter with me.