Support trials of Universal Basic Income in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Rishi Sunak

Millions of people have fallen through the cracks of the government’s support packages. The pandemic has left countless families facing poverty and extreme hardship. Many civil society leaders believe that Universal Credit, which has itself been linked to high mortality rates, is ill-equipped to support people through the financial insecurity arising from the recession we are about to enter.

Economic shocks from financial, social and environmental crises are likely to continue for decades to come. Now is the time to act. We must trial innovative approaches which create an income floor for everyone, allowing our families and communities to thrive. The pandemic has shown that we urgently need to strengthen our social security system. The creation of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) – a regular and unconditional cash payment to every individual in the UK – could be the solution.

A UBI would build resilience into our society and our communities, while providing the stimulus we need to rebuild our economy. It would level up towns and cities across the UK, allowing us to build back better. With unemployment set to increase amid a shrinking job market, we urge you not to underestimate the wider costs to society of rising poverty and joblessness. These include the ripple effect of increased mental and physical health expenditure, as well as higher policing costs exacerbated by poverty. These will far exceed the costs of putting in place a Universal Basic Income.

Local authorities across the UK, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Senedd have all expressed their intention to trial a UBI. But they need cooperation and support from the DWP and HMRC to move forwards. We are calling on the government to take action to support these trials.

Petition by
UBI Lab Network
Churchover, United Kingdom

To: Rishi Sunak
From: [Your Name]

Dear Chancellor,

We are writing to request that you support trials of Universal Basic Income in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as a response to the ongoing economic shocks caused by coronavirus.

Millions of people have fallen through the cracks of the government’s support packages. The pandemic has left countless families facing poverty and extreme hardship. Many civil society leaders believe that Universal Credit, which has itself been linked to high mortality rates, is ill-equipped to support people through the financial insecurity arising from the recession we are about to enter.

Economic shocks from financial, social and environmental crises are likely to continue for decades to come. Now is the time to act. We must trial innovative approaches which create an income floor for everyone, allowing our families and communities to thrive. The pandemic has shown that we urgently need to strengthen our social security system. The creation of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) – a regular and unconditional cash payment to every individual in the UK – could be the solution.

A UBI would build resilience into our society and our communities, while providing the stimulus we need to rebuild our economy. It would level up towns and cities across the UK, allowing us to build back better. With unemployment set to increase amid a shrinking job market, we urge you not to underestimate the wider costs to society of rising poverty and joblessness. These include the ripple effect of increased mental and physical health expenditure, as well as higher policing costs exacerbated by poverty. These will far exceed the costs of putting in place a Universal Basic Income.

Local authorities across the UK (Liverpool, Sheffield, Hull, Norwich, Leeds, Belfast, Newry, Mourne and Down, Derry and Strabane, Edinburgh, Fife, Glasgow and North Ayrshire), the Scottish Government and the Welsh Senedd have all expressed their intention to trial a UBI. But they need cooperation and support from the DWP and HMRC to move forwards. We are calling on you and the government to take action to support these trials. As representatives from across the political spectrum have said, this could be our generation’s NHS.

We are a cross-party group of MPs, peers, councillors, mayors and members of the devolved assemblies from all four nations, and we request a meeting with you and your team to discuss this further.

Your sincerely,