The United Kingdom to trial Universal Basic Income

Thirty people over two years will receive £1,600 each per month

Matt Mason
3 min readJun 5

--

Many on the left have pushed for UBI, or Universal Basic Income, over the last few years. Some countries have already tried it with mixed results. The most recent was Finland and it was dropped because the amount of money handed out wasn’t enough to challenge income inequality mostly due to the tax rises required to maintain it.

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Undeterred, the UK is trying it now. The main difference between the Finnish trial and the British trial, is how much money the participants will receive. The Finnish trial was £490 (around $600 USD) while the Brits selected in this trial will receive over three times that amount — £1,600 per month for two years (around $1,980 USD).

My initial feeling is that £1,600 might be a bit too high. It’s a positive figure which should cover most costs for most people, even in the capital where everything costs so much more anyway, including and especially housing. I suspect though that should it be introduced; the actual figure may be lower.

I’m in favour of UBI

Yes, I am. Especially when we consider what has happened over the last few years to make the poor even poorer while the rich gorge themselves on ever increasing wealth which they stash offshore to avoid either spending or paying tax (if we can afford wealth hoarding, we can afford UBI).

Then consider rampant inflation, over a decade of wage repression while businesses plead poverty (but always finding money for white elephants and massive executive pay rises), and the latest developments in automation and artificial intelligence which are expected to take many jobs in the next ten years

This last one is a biggie. If creatives like me should “get proper jobs” (as we’re so often told), then where are we going to work? Coffee shops, factories, restaurants, and warehouses? Most of those jobs are also under threat from automation.

Worst case scenario, an ever-increasing population is chasing an ever-decreasing number of jobs because robots are doing everything.

Something needs to change because we can’t carry on like this.

--

--

Matt Mason

Archaeologist by training, freelance writer by choice. General creativity nerd. EIC of "The Ace Space" - a publication for ace and aro voices.