Thank you for contacting me about Universal Basic Income.
Ideas of a universal basic income have, as I am sure you are aware, been subject to debate and discussion for some time. It is important that we have had this debate, and I hope that UBI-style systems continue to be subject to research and discussion, so that our approach to welfare can remain informed.
Let me be clear that in principle I support the concept of a universal basic income. However the question of feasibility is one we should also consider because no matter how desirable a UBI style programme might be, it must also be affordable and we must carefully think about whether it could be introduced in a manner that prevents losses amongst the most vulnerable in our society.
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.
There are admittedly various models of UBI but the more we seek to introduce adjustments to something we call UBI to account for cost or undesirable effects, the closer we get to something which resembles the current benefits system.
So while I support the principle of UBI there remain many practical matters to work through before any current proposals for UBI are fit for purpose.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.