and the changing nature of work
“I fundamentally disagree with those who think
that people must be forced to work with the
threat of starvation. If people are intrinsically of
value, then they have the right to survive with or
The Changing Nature of Work
Work is changing....
Skilled routine jobs disappearing due to
Relatively small number of highly-skilled,
Growth of low-skill, low-paid jobs, particularly in
Britain is becoming a low-wage economy
How we work is also changing...
Flexible hours, zero-hours, part-time
Casual, temporary, short-term contract
Multiple jobs – portfolio careers
Mixture of paid and unpaid work
Work is becoming increasingly insecure.
Current welfare system
Piecemeal, inconsistent and regressive
Minimum wage has become the “going rate” -
erosion of wage differentials
Serious disincentives to seek higher paid jobs
due to benefits clawback
Welfare reforms aimed at “making work pay”
actually depress wages
Narrow utilitarian approach leads to cruelty
towards the vulnerable
How to address this?
Enforce living wage legislation and a job
Provide a basic income for all and allow people
to choose not to work
Living wage and job guarantee
Living wage without a job guarantee increases
With a job guarantee, may result in more people
being employed by the state.
Fails to address the problems of self-employed,
part-time and casual workers.
Assumes that all jobs are worth doing!
Assumes that value to society is only in
Unconditional basic income
Equal support for everyone regardless of their
employment status - ends poverty
Supports those doing unpaid work
- Parents of young children
- People caring for elderly & disabled relatives
Enables people to choose work to suit their
inclinations and abilities
The Scottish Campaign for a Fair Society
The Centre for Welfare Reform
Submission to the Expert Working Group on
“An independent or more fiscally autonomous
Scotland should design its welfare system to
achieve Basic Income Security as a
constitutional right for all its citizens”
“Each citizen will be entitled to a basic income
that is sufficient to avoid poverty, and each will
contribute to the community's capacity to provide
for this income by paying a clear and fair level of
taxation on any income over and above this
Objections to basic income
Disincentive to work
Manitoba experiment 1974-79 showed that only
two groups reduced work effort:
- Young mothers chose to stay at home with children
- Adolescents chose to continue studies
Currently in UK, pensioners have a basic
income, but an increasing number choose to
Studies show that the majority of people want
2013 Scottish paper proposed extending basic
income support of £2,780 per year to entire
population of UK. Cost £169bn is less than
current cost of all benefits & pensions £185bn
We would probably want something more
generous.....question is HOW generous.
Supporters of Basic Income on right and left or
political spectrum disagree on level.
Significant savings from integrating tax and
benefits systems, eliminating anomalies.
Manitoba experiment identified reduced
healthcare expenditure due to fewer mental
health problems and accidents at work
Restored wage differentials and higher
More entrepreneurial activity
It's not a cure-all....
Would still need progressive tax system
Would still need extra support for sick, disabled
and frail elderly
Would still need extra support for families with
children unless children were also paid a basic
Would still need reform of other taxes such as
VAT and distortionary benefits for higher