So today I want to talk about Universal Basic Income.
Again, this is a policy that really excites me because as a self employed person I don’t have a regular income, some months I might do well, other months I’m struggling to pay the bills. Unfortunately there is no income support for freelancers who have a bad few months, we just have to struggle and hope for the best.
A universal basic income will mean that every single person, regardless of their employment status, will be given a payment every month. It won’t be conditional on anything, nor will it be reduced in relation to the amount of money you earn through any employment.
Sounds a bit mad, but imagine the impact that could have on people’s lives.
For unemployed people, freelancers, gig economy workers this means having a guaranteed regular income every month that will ensure they can cover their basic outgoings. How freeing that would be for the beautiful dreamers wanting to pursue their creative talents. It would give people hope, improve self esteem and boost motivation.
Alongside another policy proposal – the 4 day working week – universal basic income would give people the chance to have more free time, reducing stress and anxiety caused by working long hours. And if people are able to work less hours, that will increase job opportunities as full time roles become job shares.
I went self employed after redundancy. I’d always wanted to work for myself but hadn’t had the guts to give up a regular salary. I turned my redundancy into a positive by seeing it as an opportunity to go self employed. But so many people are stuck in jobs they hate, which impacts their mental health, sense of motivation and feeling of fulfillment. A universal basic income will give people a real choice, a chance to cut down their employment hours to return to education, retrain or pursue their ambitions.
John McDonnell recently visited Liverpool to discuss his vision and promised that when Labour is in government, Liverpool will be one of the pilot cities for Universal Basic Income. I can’t wait!