Campaigners urge council to offer to pilot ‘basic income’ trial

Campaigners are calling for a basic income for everyone and want Brighton and Hove City Council to run a trial.

A petition launched by Basic Income South East calls on the council to write to the government and ask for a pilot project in the city.

Maggie Gordon-Walker set up the petition on the council’s website with a view to it going before the full council in July.

The founder of Mothers Uncovered sees the policy as working similarly to the current government bailouts for businesses affected by the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

She said: “There was a petition calling for emergency basic income but it was pushed aside.

“There is so much coming through, to the self-employed and charities, but it’s not blanket.

“Basic income is like a pension but goes to every citizen no matter what their status.”

Those campaigning for basic income say that closing tax loopholes and higher tax rates for the rich would bring in more money to pay for the policy.

Ms Gordon-Walker said: “The unemployed, mums, carers are not benefiting from bailouts.

“If we had basic income all along, it would take away the very real fear people have of where there next meal is coming from.”

As the founder of support group Mothers Uncovered, she believes that a basic income would also give parents money for their work in the home, raising the next generation.

Trials of basic income took place in Finland and Canada in the 1970s.

The Scottish Parliament is investigating the practicalities of a pilot scheme and has been working on a feasibility study over the past few years.

Councillor Martin Osborne

Green party councillor Martin Osborne is involved with the campaign and hopes the petition will attract enough signatures for a debate at the full council meeting in July.

A launch event planned for the end of March was cancelled because of the covid-19 crisis.

Councillor Osborne said: “The social security system that has traditionally been in place has holes or not enough support for certain groups of people.

“The reforms that the Chancellor put together were radical and extensive but did not cover quite a few people.

“We’ve heard that the self-employed and freelancers were left out. There are still gaps there.

“You’re never going to address this by targeting money at different groups. When the crisis affects everyone because of the lockdown, you need a universal system.”

The petition already has more than 300 signatures on the council’s website – at – but 1,250 signatures are required to trigger a council debate.

  1. Dave Reply

    This will be amazing. There are maybe thousand people that have seasonal jobs in Tourism around Brighton that have all lost their jobs because the jobs disappear. They are not entitled to any government support as they were not working in March. Most tourism jobs start from April. Also wages are low are not sufficient to pay enough National Insurance to give entitlement to job seekers allowance. Don’t think tourism jobs are students and gap year – many people change job paths or a career break

  2. Steven mack Reply

    I think enough people have their snouts in the taxpayers pot ,people should not be looking for free handouts all the time

  3. Rostrum Reply

    Not with my tax money thank you very much.
    I work bloody hard and expect others to do the same.
    Nout for Nout..

    • Sab Reply

      UBI is from All to All!!! From Birth to Death.

  4. PickledPlumb Reply

    Outside virtue signalling what exactly does Cllr Osborne think this will achieve?

    Or after a year of playing at being a councillor does he still not understand that the council has absolutely no power to influence the Conservative government?

    It’s time the council stopped this endless cycle of time wasting nonsense.

  5. Shane Reply

    Some comments here coming from people who probably haven’t thought about Basic Income too deeply. Let’s set aside the catastrophe that is COVID for a brief time.

    What would you say to saving £6bn a year that is spent on administering Universal Credit? What would you say to saving a large chunk of the £7bn a year that comes from poverty related crime? How about an estimated £20bn per year in NHS costs?

    Universal Credit with its tapering in addition to taxation incurred is a huge disincentive to work. Why would anyone seek to up their hours when they are limited to keeping 27p of every pound earned.

    Just because more money has to cycle through the treasury does not mean net welfare costs need to increase.

    Anyone that really wants to understand before passing judgement is welcome to ask away.

    As for virtue signalling, if something is right and valuable to society should we not talk about it? Should we use whatever platforms we have to push for something that will be of common good?

    Right now in the midst of COVID, government are turning cartwheels to keep people afloat and failing many in the process. That is nothing in comparison to the recession that is to come. New money will be printed and land in the lap of corporates. Whenever it is, it is the property of the nation and should land with people, before being swallowed by big business.

  6. ROB HEALE Reply

    The Universal Basic Income would provide:-
    2. A FAIRER Benefit system.
    3. More FLEXIBILITY.
    4. OPPORTUNITIES for all

  7. Steve Foster Reply

    Please be really careful with this. It’s not a surprise this is supported by e g. Charles Murray and Milton Friedman and some in IEA. It MUST be financed by taxes on capital, and sit alongside Universal Basic Services. See also Diem25 for EU ideas.

    • Shane Reply

      I couldn’t agree more. Basic income is not designed to and never can replace Universal Basic Services. Financing is an interesting subject all of its own, but nothing, except being detrimental to people’s quality of life, should be off the table in designing a system fit for the present and the future.

  8. John Evans Reply

    As technology goes on at a pace one day it will become the only thing to do to keep up with the amount the robots make I think most people would have enough drive to want just the university basic income

  9. S warner Reply

    Give a thought to those who have to care for their ill/disabled parents/grandchildren etc. Many have to leave work long before 66,with little or no income, no state pension etc. They have enough emotional stress to deal with, without financial stress. This would be a massive help to these elderly carers and the ones they care for.

  10. David edwards Reply

    A universal income could be used on a temporary basis to support the people who have fallen through the gaps in the government financial support package. An example is the great many posted workers and UK based tourism staff who have been left with nothing. Posted workers are often employed in tourism uk and overseas on a seasonal basis – on low wages circa £500 to £1200 a month. The summer contracts have been cancelled and they are not entitled to contribution based benefits as they do not earn enough to pay sufficient National insurance. They are not just on gap year or students, many people take a career change in later life – often to give something back. They work as drivers, resort managers, resort reps, chefs, maintenance, airport roles, security, sports coaches, admin, reservations, IT, finance on seasonal contracts. I worked in large corporates for 40 years paying vast amount of tax and NI. I retrained (at my cost) in later life to become a sailing instructor. I work overseas for a holiday company 6 months each year and rent my home out while away to pay my bills and provide income. Myself and many people I know in these industries are not entitled to any government support. We are means tested for £90 per week UC, unlike workers getting 80% of their salary paid. Yes I know there are jobs in retail and crop picking available, may be ok for younger people but for older people not the best idea to work in a customer facing role at this time. Once we are out of lock down, many people will want holidays uk and overseas and it will be the posted overseas and UK tourism staff who make it happen. On your next overseas or uk holiday spare a thought for the staff you encounter – because these are the once that had no or minimal government support but will still greet you with a smile and try to make your holiday one you remember.

  11. Miro Reply

    It’s amazing to come up with ideas like this, but I would love to see some real numbers behind it.
    We have about 52mil. adults over 18 in this country. Are we going to pay everyone? How much is it going to be? £500? That would mean we need to find £312bilion a year. From where?

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