Heseltine Institute Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow explores the potential pitfalls of institutionalising Universal Basic Income in new working paper

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Universal Basic Income – or UBI – is being promoted across the political spectrum as a potential emergency response to COVID-19. It is being discussed by many around the world as a more effective way of addressing immediate needs, in the wake of business closures, job losses, falling incomes and rising hardship and inequality, as well as a possible stimulus package for economic recovery as restrictions on mobility and consumer spending are eased.

A working paper from the Heseltine Institute’s Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow, Matt Thompson, explores the potential pitfalls of institutionalising UBI as both emergency measure and enduring policy. It was originally written for the Lib Dem Business and Entrepreneurs Network taskforce as a briefing on the role UBI may play during and after the crisis, but speaks to wider debates about its origins, efficacy and prospects. Matt argues that UBI fails to reform the structural causes of its target problems – more effectively addressed by an alternative, Universal Basic Services, alongside targeted state investment in place-based industrial strategy and radical redistribution of asset ownership.

Read Matt's working paper 'Universal Basic Income as emergency measure and enduring reform' here.

Matt has also contributed to the Heseltine Institute COVID-19 Policy Briefing series with a briefing entitled 'Universal Basic Income: A Necessary but not Sufficient Response to Crisis'. The briefing can be accessed here.