‘A more positive future’ - Green councillor calls for UBI to aid virus economic bounceback
PUBLISHED: 17:10 14 May 2020 | UPDATED: 18:05 14 May 2020
A Norwich councillor is calling on the government to introduce a universal basic income to aid in the recovery from the economic shock of the coronavirus crisis.
The radical policy would see every citizen given an unconditional minimum payment, regardless of their age, status, or employment.
The reform, which was also backed by a Norwich Labour candidate ahead of last year’s general election, is intended to remove the stigma around the welfare and benefits system and reduce economic inequality.
Calls for a universal basic income (UBI) have grown in the wake of the national shutdown sparked by the Covid-10 outbreak.
Jamie Osborn, a Green Party member of Norwich city council, has called on the government to give every adult a £1,000 monthly payment to address poverty and improve economic recovery.
Mr Osborn, who is part of the campaign group UBI Lab Norfolk, is also urging for the system to be extended to children - with under 18s receiving £500 per month.
The councillor, who helped set the group up as part of a national network of UBI Labs, claimed Norwich could be especially hard-hit by the economic impacts of coronavirus, due to high levels of self-employment and deprivation.
“Millions of people have been condemned to struggle on a pittance as the government has failed to provide adequate support during lockdown,” he said.
“A UBI could also help small businesses and workers after lockdown, as it would help with childcare for people who need to work extra hours, and would provide people with the living allowance they need to start up their own businesses.”
The national network of UBI Labs are proposing a policy of a recovery UBI to help the country emerge from lockdown, which would see indivudals receive UBI payments for the first two months after the lifting of lockdown.
The thinktank is calling for payments to be tax-free and not to affect people’s entitlement to other means tested benefits - which they say would prevent people falling through the cracks.
Georgie Oatley, a founding member of UBI Lab Norfolk, said “UBI is not a replacement for the welfare state, but instead it looks towards a social security system for the future.
“Just as the welfare state was built out of the ruins of post-war Britain, now is the time to start to build a more positive future for everyone who needs it.”
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