Two distinct ideas are being promoted to help fix Britain’s broken social security system and badly depleted public services. The first idea – of basic income (BI) – seeks a guaranteed cash income for all, creating, for the first time, a condition-free income floor. Supporters claim it would cut poverty and promote empowerment. The second idea – of universal basic services (UBS) – seeks a guaranteed virtual income (or ‘social wage’) for all, by building more and better collectively provided services to meet essential, everyday needs. There are several options for reaching both goals, and both ideas reflect a mounting desire for radical change. But can both goals be achieved together and, if so, how? Can a basic income and a wider range of free public services be seen as complementary steps towards a more progressive future? How far are they compatible in fiscal and ideological terms?
Stewart Lansley and Anna Coote debate one of the hottest topics of the time.
The discussion will be followed by a wine reception allowing further conversation and networking.
Stewart Lansley is a visiting fellow at the University of Bristol. He has written widely on poverty, inequality and wealth and is the co-author (with Howard Reed) of the 2019 Compass report: Basic income for all: from desirability to feasibility and co-editor (with Amy Downes) of It’s Basic Income: The Global Debate,Policy Press, 2018. His other recent books include A Sharing Economy, Policy Press, 2016, Breadline Britain, The Rise of Mass Poverty,Oneworld, 2015 ( with Joanna Mack ) and The Cost of Inequality, Gibson Square, 2011.
Anna Coote is Principal Fellow at the New Economics Foundation (NEF). A leading analyst, writer and advocate in the field of social policy, she has written widely on social justice, sustainable development, working time, public health policy, public involvement and democratic dialogue, gender and equality. She was Commissioner for Health with the UK Sustainable Development Commission (2000-9). Her recent publications include Universal Basic Services: Theory and Practice (IGP: 2019); Universal Basic Income: A Union Perspective (PSI: 2019);Building a New Social Commons, (NEF: 2017);Local Early Action: how to make it happen(NEF: 2015); People, Planet Power: Towards a New Social Settlement (NEF: 2015;) and Time on our Side: why we all need a shorter working week (NEF: 2013).