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Tories slam ‘academic fantasies’ of Universal Basic Income trial

26 Jul 2021 2 minutes Read
Monmouth Senedd Member Peter Fox

The Welsh Conservatives have condemned calls for a Universal Basic Income trial in Wales to be extended to everyone.

First Minister Mark Drakeford proposed a trial of UBI, which pays everyone a fixed sum, regardless of their circumstances, following Labour’s victory in the Senedd election in May.

But in an open letter to the government today, supporters of UBI, including the future generations commissioner, say the trial should be expanded to include everyone living in a test area and not be limited only to people leaving care as currently planned.

Fantasies

Describing the trial as ‘academic fantasies’ Shadow Minister for Finance Peter Fox said:

“Means-testing and fairness is of fundamental importance to the integrity of our welfare state, unlike UBI, which would reward the wealthiest in society instead of targeting those who need it most.

“The Welsh Labour Government would rather some of the richest in society receive taxpayers’ hard-earned money rather than those who need it the most, all in the name of ideological purity.

“Labour’s priority should be protecting jobs and rebuilding the Welsh economy, not trialling their academic fantasies.”

Several councils across Wales support the introduction of UBI, which would offer residents a non-means-tested fixed sum paid by the government to cover the basic cost of living, replacing the current benefits system.

However, critics of the proposals have also pointed out that support from the UK Government could be crucial to the success of the trial in Wales.

Lauren James, Deputy Leader of Wales Green Party and co-founder of UBI Lab Newport, said: “… it is clear that a major stumbling block with this trial is the powers of the Senedd. In Scotland, they found a trial was near impossible under their powers. More devolved powers are vital to ensuring the same does not happen here.

“UK Government must lend their full support to the trial, and equally the Senedd must push for the powers they need to ensure it is useful and accurate.”

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GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
2 months ago

Of course the tories are dead against this if it helps normal people out. Funny how they are totally fine with the queen of England and her offspring rinsing the hell out of the taxpayer.

Vaughan
Vaughan
2 months ago

On the face of it seems to be a somewhat outlandish idea but we should look at examples of how it has worked in other countries before dismissing it out of hand.
What we have here is the kneejerk reaction if a Tory.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
2 months ago
Reply to  Vaughan

Any comparisons of trials elsewhere in the world must ensure that those schemes were genuine basic incomes. The often featured scheme trialled in Finland was not, and was not intended as a basic income. Any claims that that trial show that UBI ‘failed’ there must be viewed in the light that it wasn’t a UBI scheme in the first place. Any failure of that scheme was down to not achievingy the test aim of increasing employment levels amongst participants, and the results were anyway affected by the early cancellation of the trial. Any real comparisons of UBI like schemes such… Read more »

arthur owen
2 months ago

I am afraid the Tories may right.

Chris
Chris
2 months ago
Reply to  arthur owen

Seems unlikely

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
2 months ago

How many people died under the tories Universal Credit again? It was 120 thousand. Those callous sh1ts murdered 120,000 human beings because they are disabled and poor.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
2 months ago

As ever, there is more heat than light so far as UBI is concerned, although Fox has shown astonishing ignorance. Without going into detail (may I draw readers attention to articles I have written on this subject published here on Nation Cymru and the Institute of Welsh Affairs), there are three matters raised by Fox that need to be addressed. The first is his support for means testing as being of “fundamental importance” to the benefit system: it is the principal of means testing that actually contributes to poverty. The second is the strange idea that the rich will benefit:… Read more »

George
George
2 months ago

not trialling their academic fantasies.”

I wonder how he’d describe the trial of managed migration onto UC scheduled for Harrowgate which shows UC still isn’t fully implemented? I have lots of questions that need to be answered about UBI and at this point more likely to support a side opposing it but to oppose trials themselves seems odd.

Tyrone E Thomas
2 months ago

Is there an easy to impliment and affordable program/system/idea or concept better for everyone than Universal Bsic Income?
The answer is yes and it is not hiding under a rock that cannot be found.
United Shared Savings Network – changing our world for the better.

Tyrone E Thomas
2 months ago

Seems that most people are stuck inside the the box of media programming. Please keep an open mind and consider other options that may work out better for everyone than Universal Basic Income. A common sense approach to solve the problem and overcome the negative issues related to UBI is available for public review. Contact Tyrone Thomas for details tythomasjr08@gmail.com

Shan Morgain
2 months ago

Tory says – “Means-testing and fairness is of fundamental importance to the integrity of our welfare state, unlike UBI, which would reward the wealthiest in society instead of targeting those who need it most.” In other words inequality is better, naturally. Means testing and fairness contradict each other as means testing always means some don’t get help at all others not enough. Plus enormous stress. UBI would pay the well off too but the child benefit system has long proved that a small number of recipients who don’t “really need” it works out far cheaper than the cumbersome admin of… Read more »

Chris
Chris
2 months ago

Tories argue against anything which might help the general population shocker

j humphrys
j humphrys
2 months ago

Strange how “academic” is a dirty word here. In Scandinavia, university experts are usually sought for their analysis of proposals.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
2 months ago

Ignore the Tories, they only think of themselves – a trial should be conducted to see if it is at all feasible. If it comes down to it can only happen with the support of the callous Tories in Westminster (likely) at least we’ll know what needs to be done upon gaining independence.

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