Basic Income Proposed in UK

A prominent British think tank wants Her Majesty’s Government to offer a basic income of up to £10,000 ($14,012.30) to everybody under 55 in the United Kingdom.

The income would be funded by a “modest increase on the taxes of the wealthiest in our society,” increased corporate taxes, or a sovereign wealth fund modeled on Norway’s in a proposal from the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). The RSA wants Her Majesty’s Government to borrow money to establish a Sovereign Wealth Fund, The Telegraph reported.

“By borrowing around £200 billion ($280.25 billion) at historically low-interest rates the government could establish a fund; potentially able to pay itself back through economic growth engendered by investment in human capability from the fund,” the RSA claimed. The fund would be based upon the one already in operation in Norway, CNBC reported. That found is reportedly worth around $1 trillion (£700 billion) and was financed with oil revenues.

Such a scheme is necessary because of the potential loss of jobs from technological unemployment over the next decade, the report’s authors; Anthony Pinter, Jake Thorold, and Jamie Cooke wrote. They cited low economic growth in the UK and the threat of technological unemployment to justify their scheme.

Basic Income Popular in the UK

Around 3.6 million British subjects out of a population of 65.64 million might lose their jobs to automation by 2030, The Telegraph estimated.

Just numbers have brought basic income to the forefront of national debate in the UK. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is examining such plans for the residents of Scotland the Telegraph reported.

Basic income “is an idea Labour will be closely looking at over the next few years,” John McDonnell the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet reportedly said. Labour Party leader Corbyn himself has also been examining the idea of a basic income for some time.

That would make Corbyn the highest-profile politician in the English speaking world since U.S. President Richard M. Nixon (R-California) in the early 1970s to examine Basic Income. Basic income has not yet entered the national debate in the US, but Hillary Clinton claims she considered proposing one during the 2016 presidential election.

It looks as if Basic Income is now a mainstream idea in the UK. It will not be long before the idea becomes mainstream in the USA as well. America should consider adopting something like the RSA’s Basic Income plan.