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Universal Basic Income takes Wales closer to being a ‘communist state’, Tory MS claims

24 Jun 2021 4 minutes Read
Karl Marx (left) Photo by klimbims, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Janet Finch Saunders (right) photo National Assembly Wales.

A Universal Basic Income (UBI) scheme would take Wales a step closer to being a “communist state”, a Tory MS has claimed.

Janet Finch-Saunders, the Conservative Senedd member for Aberconwy, suggested that providing every adult with a fixed income every month that would be enough to pay for all basic essentials is “unjustifiable”.

Finch-Saunders made the comments in the Senedd, while questioning Finance Minister Rebecca Evans, in response to an announcement from the Welsh Government that it intends to pilot a scheme.

Evans responded that the move is about “alleviating poverty” and “having a positive” on people’s “mental health” and “well-being”.

The Tory MS said: “On 19 May 2021, the First Minister admitted himself to the Senedd that: ‘We don’t have all the powers that would be necessary, let alone all of the funding that would be necessary to include a universal basic income for the whole of Wales’.

“So, pardon my astonishment, then, that the Welsh Government so soon into this new Senedd has already started to spend resources on a non-devolved area of policy.

“Now, whilst the First Minister may think that he has the ability to design an experiment that will allow you to test the claims that are made for UBI, every single penny that is invested and minute of time spent by officials on this pursuit of a socialist utopia is simply quite unjustifiable.

“In fact, Wales would be a step closer to being a communist state should your concept of giving every person a fixed amount of money every month become a reality.

“So, will you as Minister state how much resources have you agreed to allow to be allocated to fund work related to UBI this financial year?”

‘Poverty’

Rebecca Evans said: “Well, of course, universal basic income is about alleviating poverty, and that is absolutely the interest of the Welsh Government.

“It’s also about giving people more control over their lives and having a positive impact on their mental health and their well-being – all things that we would want to achieve here in Wales.

“We’ve followed pilots across the world very closely and with interest, and we think that there is the opportunity to test a version here.90

“Of course, we are not testing a version for the entire population.

“We’re thinking about a cohort of people, potentially care leavers, who I think are some of the most vulnerable people and the people who are most deserving of us supporting them, and finding creative ways and innovative ways to support those individuals.

“So, we’re looking closely at models that have been drawn up elsewhere; we’re looking at the experience of Scotland and other countries across the world.

“But all of this work is being undertaken in the portfolio of the Minister for Social Justice, and she’ll be managing this particular piece of work within her main expenditure group.”

Speaking after the debate, Janet Finch-Saunders said: “Like many constituents who have contact me over recent weeks, I am astonished that the Welsh Government has, so soon into the Sixth Senedd, already started to waste resources on non-devolved areas of policy.

“At this point in our recovery, the money proposed to be spent on this experiment is unjustifiable.

“In fact, recent research into UBI has questioned how effective it is at tackling present inequalities.

“For example, a recent trial in Finland found that it did not lead to more people finding work, whilst research by the Centre for Social Justice has found that this initiative would not meet the needs of people on low-incomes.

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

“The Welsh Government must focus on the problems facing large swathes of the public by creating more jobs and levelling-up the whole of Wales.”

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Alan Reilly
Alan Reilly
29 days ago

Most jobs require you to have an understanding of the role before you are deemed worthy of working in it. Being a politician is one of very few that requires nothing. The idea that a member of a national parliament doesn’t have an iota of a clue as to what a major political theory is or what it involves would be astonishing if we weren’t so used to it.

Mark
Mark
29 days ago

this is a big problem with Wales, we enable brain dead idiots like finch saunders to worm their way into positions of power, I hope I never see the tories gain the upper hand in Welsh politics, if they do Wales will be finished.

Quornby
Quornby
29 days ago
Reply to  Mark

We would be Mark, but fortunately people have woken up to the Johnson anti Wales project and to his fellow travelers like this woman.

Chris
Chris
28 days ago

Tories making melodramatic populist statements based on nothing? Who would believe it?!

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
28 days ago

Does Ms Finch-Saunders have a degree in Economics or Economic History? Means-testing is hideously judgemental and cost ineffective, it imposes complexity, inefficiency and barriers on to the parts of our society who are least able to cope. Historically the most effective state benefits in the UK have been Child Benefit and the State Pension both of which share similarities with UBI. One of the basic theoretical arguments supporting a social security system is that it dissuades the downtrodden peasantry from revolting against their capitalist, property owning betters, something I thought would appeal to Ms Finch-Saunders?

Charles Evans
Charles Evans
28 days ago

I wonder if she genuinely believes that UBI pushes Wales towards being a “communist state”, or whether it’s just more culture war bullsh*t pushed by the central Tory party.

Either way, she’s thick or mendacious (or perhaps both?).

Last edited 28 days ago by Charles Evans
Bruce
Bruce
28 days ago

Interestingly universal basic income has been advocated by people considered to be right-wing as well as left-wing. Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek both supported the idea of a basic income in one form or another and neither of them could be considered remotely communist. This is another example of words such as ‘communist’ and ‘socialist’ being chucked about in an attempt to denigrate the idea and shut down the debate before it even starts. Her description of basic income as ‘communist’ just goes to show how ignorant she is of the subject, she should really do some proper research on… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
28 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

The habit of chucking out buzz words and cliches, such as “communist”, “left wing”, fascist, racist, mysoginist, homophobe, transphobe etc etc is now beyond irritating. The lazy types that rely on peppering any of their outbursts with these words are just trying to shut down any rational debate. A touch of getting retaliation in first except most of the time it misses by a mile because of its evident misuse.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
28 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

Her level of ignorance is also revealed when she lazily regurgitates standard press misinformation about the scheme trialled in Finland, which was categorically NOT UBI or even intended to be. Indeed, the Finnish government bent over backwards in asserting that it wasn’t a trial of UBI, just whether the payment of a small monthly sum would have a positive or negative effect on people taking up employment or reducing their work commitments For a start, the Finnish scheme could not have been UBI as it didn’t provide a sufficient sum to provide a basic income. It also wasn’t universal but… Read more »

Geoff Ryan
Geoff Ryan
27 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

She is also ignorant of Marxist theory about the state. According to Marx and Lenin the state ‘withers away’ under Communism therefore there can be no such thing as a ‘communist state’.

Chris H
Chris H
20 days ago
Reply to  Bruce

I consider myself center with a right lean more often than not, and UBI is perhaps the most left-wing policy that I support. You’re correct that throughout history UBI has been promoted by people across all corners of the political spectrum. I’m an avid Star Trek fan, and UBI I think brings us closer to a similar future where money is no longer needed as humanity aims to better itself – but it is FAR too soon to just eliminate money altogether, so UBI is a great starting point. I believe it’s a key stepping stone to actual progress (as… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
28 days ago

Anything ‘social’ the Tories hate, if they had their way there would be no social care at all.

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
28 days ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

When it came to society Mrs Thatcher said in 1987 “There is no such thing!”

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