In early May, Southwark and Lambeth Green Parties welcomed Siân Berry as first guest in its speaker programme, Beyond Covid-19. The topic: Universal Basic Income (UBI).
With much to cover, Siân provided an informed and passionate overview of Green Party policy on this issue and explained some of the research that has gone into this globally, as well as answering members’ questions. It became clear that the concept of UBI and the support and resilience it provides was a key policy that first attracted Siân to the Green Party.
The UBI debate is getting noticed and gaining traction beyond the core champions such as the Green Party. The coronavirus crisis has revealed the failings in the current UK benefit and taxation systems more starkly than ever before. So, we see this UBI as edging closer to becoming a reality, as evidenced by these reports and indicators:
- A recent report found that 84% of the public support the introduction of a basic income (see details here)
- More than 100 MPs and Peers from all parties have signed a letter to the Chancellor calling for a ‘Recovery Universal Basic Income’ in response to the crisis. (see who has and who has not signed here and add your own support)
- A similar number of MPs and Peers signed an Early Day Motion (see details here)
Getting more information
- Read detail about UBI from the Green Party manifesto here (from page 26)
- See a detailed Green Party background policy paper here
- One of the most extensive and recent studies into UBI was conducted in Finland over a two-year period and the results have just been published. Read about it here or watch the video summary here
- Spread the word. Once you have the information, tell people about it! In our experience, many instinctively oppose anything new that they don’t understand. Making the concept of UBI widely known and understood among the general public is an important step in achieving political change.
- Follow and support UBI campaigns. Groups campaigning most vocally on this – besides Greens – include these whose websites are also good sources of further information about UBI.
- As already mentioned, Compass has set up a specific campaign called basicincomeconversation.org. Go to the website to find out which MPs and Peers are supportive, and to add your name to their open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer here. Encourage your friends and contacts to do the same and use your own social media channels to promote it.
- Write to your MP. Either thank them for signing to letter to the Chancellor or encourage them to do so as soon as possible. At the time of writing, Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Streatham) is the only MP in Southwark or Southwark who has signed the letter. It is always helpful to explain to your MP why this policy would benefit you personally, as their constituent. You can find your MP’s contact details here.
Beyond Covid-19 is a rolling programme. Check the EVENTS page for what's up next. We look forward to welcoming you to them and if you have an idea for a topic or speaker you suggest we cover, get in touch [email protected].
Online events present both opportunities and pitfalls so we direct all attendees to our guidance notes here. If you have any concerns or questions about access, behaviours or technology, do not hesitate to raise them by emailing us [email protected].