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July 12, 2022

Time for big ideas

Perhaps it’s the warm weather, but the harsh reality of what’s coming later this year in terms of household fuel bills doesn’t seem to have fully hit home. But combined with the price increases in virtually every other area of household spending, it’s surely reasonable to expect more from our politicians than their pained expressions and a wringing of hands? If ever there was a time for some radical thinking and big ideas it must be now. The concept of a Minimum Income Standard is by no means fanciful and many view it as a step towards more enlightened times


The Basic Income Conversation is an initiative, powered by Compass, to promote the idea of a universal basic income in the UK. The report can be accessed here.

This is the report summary:

“This report examines the distributive impacts of three UBI schemes which raise the income floor to different heights and are broadly designed to provide a potential pathway to attainment of the Minimum Income Standard, MIS. The first is a starter scheme to provide an entry payment; the second an intermediate scheme and the third a full MIS payment to which increases in less generous schemes can be aimed over time. We use microsimulation of data from the Family Resources Survey to outline the static distributive impacts and costs of the schemes. 

Our key finding is that a modest, fiscally neutral, scheme has the capacity to cut child poverty to an historic low, below the low point achieved in the 1970s, thus achieve more than the anti-poverty interventions of the New Labour Governments from 2000. Even a modest scheme would significantly improve the living standards and life chances of millions of people and, despite the claims made by some critics of UBI, would be both feasible and affordable. This helps to answer the central practical criticism of introducing a basic income, that the payment levels are either too small to make much difference or too generous to be affordable.”