When Furlough paid millions to stay at home and become reliant on the Government for survival some suggested it was a precursor to a Universal Basic Income. Those people were called 'conspiracy theorists'.
Universal Basic Income is a single uniform payment to every adult, regardless of need, based on Marxist 'economics' of equity and wealth distribution. The Conservative Government are currently running two trials in the UK in order to assess "potential merits of a universal basic income" according to their website.
The Trial will consist of a (small) group of people receiving £1600 every month for two years with 'no strings attached'. The trial will pay two groups of 30 people each (one in Jarrow near Sunderland, the other in East Finchley in London) for a full two years whilst scientists monitor how those in the trial spend the money, and how it affects their lives.
The far-left think tank 'Autonomy' devised the trial but will be funded by the UK Government, raising questions about why a Tory government is again pushing pure socialist ideologies.
Supporters of the Universal Basic Income, which would be awarded to rich and poor alike without conditions, continue to argue that it helps boost employment and prevents poverty. The architects of the English pilots say it would also improve well-being and protect livelihoods amid shocks from climate change and automation.
Although it keeps coming back in slightly different forms, wherever the scheme has been tried previously it has always ended in failure. Schemes in Canada, Sweden and Finland all withered on the vine. The results are already in, as with Communism itself, there is no need for further study on a failed idea. Yet, left-wing academics continue to peddle the scheme due to its general principles of wealth distribution; equity; and the ever-popular Government giving 'free stuff' to everyone.
However, UBI eventually always runs out of steam for a number of very obvious reasons; firstly no Government anywhere on earth has a single penny of its own. There is no 'free stuff', the revenue has to come from somewhere, and that will inevitably mean higher taxes. On top of that previous trials failed to show that, long term, the economy was boosted. The idea that it 'creates jobs' is simply not backed up by data. Whilst giving money to wealthy people who don't need it inevitably causes division and resentment amongst other groups of people.
The scheme has an altogether more sinister reason for its continued promotion by Government. There is a power-shift that comes with all UBI schemes. Making people dependent on the government in this way gives them almost total control over the people. For government it's a win, for the individual, its a very dangerous place to be. In 2022 the Welsh Government trialed a scheme where it gave 18-year-old care leavers monthly post-tax income of £1,280 for two years. The scheme was due to be rolled out to a wider cohort before inevitably the money ran out and the idea was scrapped. Universal basic income often has been floated as a solution to mass unemployment from automation and technological advances. While the rapid rise of artificial intelligence has raised fears of job losses in recent months, Immervoll says that such innovation also creates jobs. Joe Shalam, policy director of the Centre for Social Justice, brands the scheme as a solution to a problem that “has not yet arrived”. Expanding the English pilots that Autonomy has designed to all of the UK would cost around a trillion pounds, he warns.
“That’s not money that is usefully spent propping up the incomes of people who don’t need the help. It just doesn’t withstand even the most basic scrutiny,” he says. Universal income would balloon state spending and, despite claims, UBI is forecast to increase poverty. Herwig Immervoll, of the OECD, says: “When you move away from something that is targeted to something where everybody gets support, then you either spend much more or you reduce the amount of support that is available. That is the fundamental trade-off.”
For the government to give you free money every month it will want something in return, and that something may just be more than you're willing to pay.