Finland money

A universal basic income worked in Wales and Finland – why not in England?

A universal basic income, independent of salary, savings and without conditions. No refunds. The Welsh government is discussing this, after it has just introduced a basic income of £1,600 a month for young people leaving care.

The idea of ​​it being accessible to everyone has been around for a while, but this new scheme has again launched the idea of ​​a basic income for everyone. The exact figure proposed has not been decided.

But what a good idea for the whole of the UK? With depressed wages, a cost of living crisis and the number of women in the workforce at a 30-year low, now would be the time.

Conservatives are not enthusiastic. They argue that people will be less likely to find work. But that’s just not true. Having free money has never hindered anyone’s chances of earning more or succeeding professionally. If that were true, we would worry more about the future of the donors’ children, not the children of the HLMs.

Having a reliable source of income does not bother anyone. Most of the wealthy are products of generational wealth. But no one is saying, “We better stop the inheritances – it wouldn’t be helpful for someone to have all this free money.” It wouldn’t be fair to them! What if this prevents them from finding a job? »

Finland ran a two-year pilot, where they gave the unemployed €560 (£490) a month unconditionally. The study showed that it didn’t make people lazier or less likely to work, and that health and well-being improved because people didn’t have to worry about their finances.

The benefits would be enormous. It would relieve stress, have a positive effect on well-being and, essentially, relieve the financial pressures that so many of us face. Having money and resources, and not worrying about “heating or eating,” would help people in terms of health, well-being, and productivity. We don’t need people to be actually physically hungry to make them hungry for work. We really need to shake off this Victorian idea that the only reason people work is if they need money to survive.

I don’t think people ever wanted to work. But people want to work. People want to be part of something, to belong to a community and work for it, to have a purpose. It’s not just a question of money.

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Social life today should not resemble that of Victorian England. Full-time workers shouldn’t need to use food banks and grants to pay for their children’s school uniforms. Mums shouldn’t ask cashiers to stop scanning groceries because they hit £50 too soon and can’t afford their usual store because food prices have gone up.

To support our current economic model, we need to start paying citizens. The biggest hurdle is convincing workers that they deserve a basic income and that no one should have to struggle.

And, let’s not forget, earning money costs money and women find themselves excluded from the labor market due to the unsustainable cost of childcare. Women cannot afford to work. It costs more to be poor and the report of the Commissioner for Future Generations showed that a weekly payment to everyone could cut poverty in half.