Protect households from coronavirus' economic impact by introducing universal basic income

Protect households from coronavirus' economic impact by introducing universal basic income

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Ian Mackay started this petition to Boris Johnson (Prime Minister) and

The economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are clearly going to be huge. For many of us, we will face the stark choice between self-isolation to protect our health, and that of our families, and going to work to ensure we have an income to feed and house ourselves.

This is an opportunity for the government to be bold, and rethink our entire position, and introduce huge changes to the way tax and benefits work. These are ideas that have been around for some time, and have seen successful pilots: now is the time to make them work in the UK.

By introducing a Universal Basic Income of £12,000 pa for every adult, the government would immediately lift the dilemma of work and self-isolation. This would buy us breathing space to get ahead of the pandemic, by enabling families to break the chain of disease transmission and still afford to live.

This income could replace many benefits, and even the State Pension, by being paid from 18 until death (with a reduced payment for 16 and 17 year olds). At the same time, we could scrap the confusing distinction between Income Tax and National Insurance which would no longer be meaningful. Simultaneously, the tax-free allowance could be removed: all income other than the basic state income would then be taxed. Finally, as it's hard to justify a state benefit for high earners, introduce a cap on earnings, above which the universal basic income is tapered to nothing. For example, for every £2 earned over £80k, the state income is reduced by £1.

This shouldn't just be for during the pandemic: it's a fairer, better way to support all citizens, and would allow great simplification of tax, benefits, and pensions.

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