A fantastic post by our Community Correspondent Robert Terry, who is passionate about addressing inequality and the concept of universal basic income.
Pre-coronavirus, austerity killed people. More than 130 000 people in five years, according to the office of national statistics.
Every life is precious. At the moment we are reminded of this several times a day. And rightly so. But please forgive me for asking, where was all the fuss for an epidemic of austerity deaths?
We are all in this together. But people who have always suffered under austerity are suffering the most now.
I want to believe that our government is compassionate and caring. Government has after all pledged hundreds of billions of pounds of UK taxpayers money, probably the largest act of British investment in peacetime history.
Financial uncertainty is and will always be the big problem. Coronavirus has revealed underlying inequalities and reminded us how unprepared we are for other extreme events, like climate change. Surely a responsible, compassionate and caring government would want to mitigate as much uncertainty as possible?
I think now is the time for government to introduce a universal basic income guaranteed for every person of working age within the UK.
People say that it’s too expensive, that it’s not sustainable. But we know that there are huge inequalities and lots of opportunities to gather more tax from those who can afford it, by introducing things like transaction taxes in the financial sector, or by cracking down on exemptions. Did you know that private jet owners don’t pay VAT on their fuel, for example? That sounds like a good place to start.
We could use this to provide a Universal Basic Income. These payments would only ever supplement all future incomes. It’s not a replacement for work or for any state benefits system.
Just like covid-19, financial insecurity is a virus endemic within the UK’s general population. Every life is precious. Now is the time for making a better future, for everyday folks. Now is the time for introducing a universal basic income.
First thing I’d do is buy an electric vehicle, or two. And that could be done online.