Universal Basic Income: a policy whose time has come

Universal Basic Income (UBI), also known as citizens' income, has been Green Party policy for decades, but in recent years the idea has attracted a surge of interest from around the world. Finland has just established a fully fledged pilot scheme, the Dutch city of Utrecht is trialing a similar scheme and both the RSA and the charity NESTA are advocating trials in the UK.

The concept is simple: if you are accepted as a member of this society, you get a payment every week that would meet your basic needs. There's no conditionality, it goes to everyone, and for those on higher incomes, it is recovered through the tax system.

But it ensure that no one is left penniless, and benefit traps are eliminated.


Universal basic income would free people to use their time productively and well. People could start small businesses with the security of the income to back them up, artists and other creative people would have time to develop their work, carers and unpaid community workers would be able to continue their contributions. And as we face a world of increasing automation, there would be security for all.

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