Medway Greens urge local MPs to back basic income research

Medway Green Party is calling on Medway MPs to back a parliamentary motion for government research into the introduction of a universal basic income.

The  concept of replacing much of the current social security system (with the exception of housing and disability benefits) with an unconditional, non-withdrawable basic income, paid to all individuals, is currently been investigated by think-tank Compass, innovation charity Nesta, and the Royal Society of Arts, among others; it is also undergoing practical experiments in Finland and The Netherlands.

The motion [1] calling for further research into “the possibilities offered by the various Basic Income models, their feasibility, their potential to guarantee additional help for those who need it most, and how the complex economic and social challenges of introducing a Basic Income might be met” has been placed by Caroline Lucas,  Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, but Medway Greens are keen to  point out that  the Basic income concept has had  support from across the political spectrum, including from Conservatives, hence the call on local MPs to sign the motion.

Clive Gregory, Medway Green Party co-ordinator comments:

“The universal basic income concept (which has been a long term Green policy) was supported by no other than Friedrich Hayek, Margaret Thatcher’s favourite intellectual guru. Similar schemes have been backed by right wing thinkers Milton Friedman and Charles Murray. The attraction for these thinkers is that it would remove state interference in the day to day lives of individuals, simplify and reduce the costs of administering the welfare system and give everyone a secure foundation.

“In our current times of casual low paid labour, which offers little in terms of predictable hours or long term security ,and the growth of food banks, the need for a basic floor under which no one can fall has become more important than ever.  A universal basic income could also revolutionalise the labour market, allowing people more choice in how they balance their work and caring responsibilities, as well as provide a boost to entrepreneurialism and the creation of small businesses”.

A range of different ways of financing a universal basic income have been suggested, from a cost neutral reorganisation of the tax and welfare system e.g. that suggested for consultation by the Green Party [2] with its 2015 manifesto (or similar reorganisations of the tax and welfare system, but with additional funds e.g. the RSA model [3]) to full monetary reform [4]; in the latter model, interest-free money created by the state instead of by banks, as currently happens, could go directly to individuals rather than into financial markets and property bubbles.

Clive says:

“We are at a point when the idea of introducing a basic income is gaining traction and we hope that  MPs  across the political spectrum, both locally and in other parts of the country, will support research and debate into the potential it could have of providing a better and more secure future for us all.”

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Ends

NOTES:

[1] http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2015-16/974

[2] https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/Policy%20files/Basic%20Income%20Consultation%20Paper.pdf

[3] https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/rsa-blogs/2015/12/in-support-of-a-universal-basic-income–introducing-the-rsa-basic-income-model/

[4] http://positivemoney.org/our-proposals/

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