Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer on UBI

Posted on September 20, 2020

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This morning the Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer has been interviewed on the Andrew Marr Show of BBC. If you want to listen to what he had to say on UBI, please visit here and go to (51:00 to 54:00) for the part on UBI.

Sir Keir Starmer has given a cautious welcome to consider UBI which is one reason to be cheerful. Sadly, he avoided an answer on how it should be financed. Especially he did not want to commit himself to tax increases or specifically a wealth tax. Should Marr have reminded him of his pledge in the Labour leadership contest: “Increase income tax for the top 5% of earners, reverse the Tories’ cuts in corporation tax and clamp down on tax avoidance, particularly of large corporations. No stepping back from our core principles.”

ToryEconomy which is part of the Conservative Party commented in a Tweet ‘On #Marr Sir Keir Starmer has said that Labour will “look at” introducing a costly Universal Basic Income – one of Corbyn’s far-left economic policies which would actually increase poverty and leave people worse off’. To such a statement wilfully ignoring facts I can only respond modifying a phrase of Mark Twain: It is difficult to tell the truth, if you can only protect your privileges not to. Obviously ToryEconomy wants an Economy of the Rich, for the Rich, by the Rich. In case you are faced with similar misleading arguments, please refer to the UBI Lab Network briefing document that highlights the main arguments for a UBI and an FAQs document that addresses the common questions and misconceptions about a UBI.

Unfortunately both parties fail to understand how UBI and tax increases for the rich and wealthy corporations need to happen in order to prevent climate crisis turning into climate chaos. We need to switch in many areas from individual consumption to collective use financed by tax increases. Nobody would seriously argue in favour of a personal swimming pool for every individual instead of a common one for every community. The same logic applies to many other areas where collective use rather individual consumption will provide sustainability, justice and well-being for all.