RSA explores idea of Universal Basic Income

The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) has published proposals exploring the idea of a Universal Basic Income.

Under the proposals, a fund would be established with an endowment from Government and used to provide up to two years of a Basic Opportunity Dividend worth £5,000 per annum for each recipient.

The RSA says the scheme would enhance economic security and promote economic mobility, as more jobs are replaced by automation and adults struggle to juggle work with social care.

The payments would not be means tested but would require claimants to demonstrate that they intend to put the money to good use.

Similar schemes have been rolled out across Finland and Alaska, and a state income has been considered by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party.

The RSA estimated that its ‘Universal Basic Opportunity Fund’ would cost around £14.5 billion per annum over 13 years.

Anthony Painter, Director of the RSA’s Action and Research Centre, said: “Economic insecurity risks becoming the new normal unless we take action: around a third of the workforce today are economically insecure, and many more out of work can seem permanently excluded.

“Without a real change in our thinking, neither tweaks to the welfare state nor getting people into work alone, when the link between hard work and fair pay has broken, will help working people meet the challenges ahead.”

Jonathan Reynolds MP, Labour’s shadow Treasury minister, said: “This new report from the RSA raises the right questions about the future of work and the long-term challenges we face, including making sure automation and the changing nature of work deliver a fairer, more prosperous society.”