‘The Covid-19 crisis has shown why we need to trial a UBI’ – An open letter to the Chancellor

Posted on March 10, 2020

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UBI Lab Sheffield
C/O Opus Independents, Sheffield
Web: ubilabsheffield.org
Email: hello@ubilabsheffield.org

10 March 2020

Rishi Sunak
House of Commons

Dear Rishi Sunak MP,
The Covid-19 crisis has shown why we need to trial a Universal Basic Income.

The recent Covid-19 outbreak has brought home just how vulnerable many of us are in a crisis like this.

Many households across the country are already being pushed to the limit by the precarious circumstances so many workers find themselves in. An RSA/Populus survey found that over 40% of British workers have less than £1,000 in savings.

This includes millions of working families who find it hard to cover their bills without going into debt and the growing numbers of British workers who are self-employed, part of the gig economy or on zero-hours contracts. Many are worried about getting sick and what that would mean for their ability to pay the bills and feed their families.

Unless we take action to safeguard households’ financial security, Covid-19 will put millions more at risk of not being able to cover the bills or provide food for their families. Businesses and our high streets will suffer too.

That’s why we (the undersigned) are calling on you as the Chancellor of the Exchequer to trial a Universal Basic Income (UBI).

A UBI would provide every UK adult with a fixed, regular and unconditional income. It would relieve some of the financial pressures facing British households and keep our economy going through shocks like this.

UBI proposals range from £50 to £120 per week for every adult and a smaller amount for every child. It would work just like the Basic State Pension and the Child Benefit, except it is paid to all adults.

Reports from Compass, the New Economics Foundation and the RSA show that a UBI would significantly reduce poverty and provide an income boost for the vast majority of British households.

Limiting the economic damage of Covid-19 and strengthening financial security in Britain requires bold action. It is vital that we test and trial a UBI.

Not only would it provide vital support during Covid-19, but it could also be crucial in safeguarding financial security for families, communities and our economy for the future.

We offer our help and support on this and hope you take up our offer.
Kind regards,
UBI Lab Sheffield
UBI Lab Leeds
UBI Lab Liverpool
UBI Lab Kirklees
UBI Lab North East
Barb Jacobson, Basic Income UK
Simon Duffy, Centre for Welfare Reform
Basic Income North Jamie Cooke, Head of the Royal Society of Arts Scotland
Mark Bryan (Reader in Economics, University of Sheffield)
Basic Income Conversation, powered by Compass
Cllr Patrick Hurley (Liverpool City Council)
Cllr Paul Drake-Davis (Hull City Council)
Cllr Jack Haines (Hull City Council)
Cllr Erin Hill (Kirklees Council)
The People’s Powerhouse
Dr Reinhard Huss
Nick Hartley (clinical psychologist)