Including immigrants and refugees in our push for a Universal Basic Income

Posted on February 8, 2021

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The political debate in Leeds has led to cross-party support and a council motion for trialling Universal Basic Income (UBI) in our city. While local political support is essential, it needs to be matched by a public demand for UBI in order to pressure Westminster to approve a trial. This debate should include our diverse immigrant and refugee communities. The demand for UBI is urgent in light of Covid-19 and the pressing economic and social hardships of many people in our city.

With the current (necessary) restrictions it is challenging to reach and inform all of Leeds’ communities on UBI, especially those who are not full-time online. Innovative ways must be used to engage Leeds residents on UBI for whom English is not their first language. They require a proper introduction to the concept which addresses any questions they may have. While there is no shortage of high quality resources on UBI, these are only available in English. Leeds is known for its rich cultural and linguistic diversity.

UBI Lab Leeds and UBI Lab Sheffield have taken the initiative to translate key documents and frequently asked questions (FAQs) into a range of different languages in order to make the UBI concept accessible to everyone. Up to now this has led to Chinese translations of two introductory pages adapted from the booklet on Citizen’s Basic Income, and the FAQs compiled by co-founders of the UBI Lab Network. You can find the Chinese versions here and here. Please share these with anybody who you think would benefit from reading about UBI in their own language.

This is only the start. We will be looking to translate these documents into a wide range of languages from Afrikaans to Urdu. We do however not have to reinvent the wheel. A recent survey conducted by the Sufficiency4Sustainability (S4S) group showcased numerous organisations involved in UBI advocacy and research across the globe. We will therefore reach out to our international colleagues to exchange documents and materials with the aim of making UBI accessible to everybody in as many languages as possible.