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Basic Income Plus as an Alternative to UK Welfare Reform

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Dr Simon Duffy of the Centre for Welfare Reform and UBI Lab Sheffield spoke to members of Sheffield's Disability Hub, in partnership with Disability Sheffield about the potential of Basic Income Plus to benefit disabled people and replace the ESA system.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Basic Income Plus as an Alternative to UK Welfare Reform

  1. 1. Basic Income Plus an alternative to neoliberal welfare reforms
  2. 2. basic income means every individual receives a regular payment of cash to live on
  3. 3. • There is no country where there is a full working basic income system. • There have been successful pilots of basic income around the world. • Bits of our current system (state pension and child benefit) are quite close to being a form of basic income. • Social security for working age people has moved away from the principles of basic income. • There is an international campaign for basic income (e.g. BIEN and Basic Income UK). • Basic income is Green Party policy and John McDonnell has expressed support for the idea in the past.
  4. 4. basic income is a radical change to the social security system
 (ie tax and benefits)
  5. 5. basic income is different • No means-testing (within the benefit itself) - universal • No stigma and shame in claiming benefits - invisible • No sanctions, you get it no matter what - unconditional • No dependency, not family-based - individual • Less confusing - simple(r)
  6. 6. basic income impact (?) • Reduce poverty • Improve health • Improve work life • End stigma • Reduce suicides • Reduce bureaucracy • Increase solidarity • Increase citizen action • Improve life for carers • Reduce domestic violence • Improve learning
  7. 7. basic income in practice • There is no agreed model or set level • Housing subsidies may best be treated separately • Attention will still need to be paid to disability costs • It is not a replacement for existing public services • Community support and responsibility are still important
  8. 8. basic income critics Left-wing (e.g. NEF) • It is better to give people services than money • It is a subsidy for bad employers • It will distract people from fighting for employment rights • It won’t be sensitive to differing needs Right-wing (e.g. JRF) • It is not affordable • It won’t be accepted • It will discourage work • It will encourage dependence on the state
  9. 9. Benefits are not government expenditure they are part of a system of redistribution constrained by 
 political power
  10. 10. People generally do 
 not understand how widespread benefits already are…
  11. 11. how benefits are distributed
  12. 12. Nor, how unfair the current system is, 
 e.g. the poorest 
 pay the most tax…
  13. 13. how taxes are distributed
  14. 14. In fact the real (after tax) cost of benefits is 
 VERY LOW…
  15. 15. current redistribution
  16. 16. For the better off it is effectively the equivalent to the cost of 
 a cup of coffee…
  17. 17. The current system is not just bad, it has also got progressively worse, with income being taken away from the poorest…
  18. 18. If we really did redistribute money effectively then we could eliminate poverty and radically reduce inequality…
  19. 19. 1. Reduce the income of richest 10% by 8.9% 
 to lift income of poorest 10% to level of second decile and improve equality ratio to 1:5 2. Reduce the income of the richest 10% by 15.2%
 to lift income of poorest 20% to level of third decile
 and improve equality ratio to 1:4 3. Reduce the income of the richest 10% by 27% 
 to lift income of poorest 30% to level of fourth decile and improve equality ratio to 1:3 what we could do instead
  20. 20. If we were prepared to change the tax system then it would not be hard to come up with a 
 basic income system more generous than the 
 current system
  21. 21. • Child Benefit (first) = £20.70 (£1,080) • Pension = £125. 90 (£6,546) • Basic Tax Credit = £37.70 (£1,960) • JSA (over 25) = £73.10 (£3,800) • Tax Allowance = £45.58 (£11,850 @20% = £2,370) • ESA (support group) = £110.75 (£5,759) • LHA (1 bed Sheffield) = £94.80 (£4,930) some existing benefits
  22. 22. but some groups would do better than other groups and some people would have to 
 pay more tax…
  23. 23. What will also help is if we start to think differently about 
 (1) economics (2) wealth and (3) work…
  24. 24. Will basic income work for disabled people? Possibly, if it becomes
 Basic Income Plus
  25. 25. 1. Every disabled person is guaranteed at least the basic income 2. Disabled people are united with all other citizens in benefiting from higher levels of basic income 3. No more means-testing, no more sanctions, no reduction because you live with someone else 4. A better assessment system could create a fair level of additional funding (Basic Income Plus) 5. It could increase people’s level of control over personal budgets etc. Possible benefits include
  26. 26. Questions that remain • Is the current system - which divides disabled people from the unemployed - better for disabled people? • If disabled people should get extra money what are the principles that should determine that? • If there is an assessment process then how should that work so that it is empowering?
  27. 27. • Working to get the people and the City of Sheffield to support the idea of testing basic income in the City. • Exploring whether ESA could be converted into a form of Basic income plus as part of the pilot. • Encouraging discussion and the development of a model created by and for disabled people.
  28. 28. @UBILabSheffield @CforWR
 @simonjduffy
 @citizen_network
 @CitizenReform fb.me/UBILabSheffield fb.me/centreforwelfarereform fb.me/citizennetwork https://www.ubilabsheffield.org https://basicincome.org https://www.basicincome.org.uk https://citizensincome.org www.citizen-network.org www.cforwr.org Check out websites
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