Thompson calls for Recovery Universal Basic Income

Wednesday April 22nd 2020


Owen Thompson MP has urgently called for a Recovery Universal Basic Income (UBI) to be introduced in response to the Covid19 crisis.

Mr Thompson is a member of the cross-party working group on Universal Basic Income, has backed the idea in parliament and has co-signed a joint cross-party statement published today calling for immediate adoption of a Universal Basic Income to help build a sustainable recovery and protect against economic crises.

Mr Thompson said:

“Bringing in a universal basic income would be a positive step towards a fairer and more resilient society after the Covid19 storm has passed. It would provide much-needed security to families who are struggling now and help them pick up the pieces when the crisis recedes.

“The public health impact of coronavirus is immense, but it is not inevitable that economic hardship must follow. The government have a unique chance here to introduce a universal basic income which will not only keep people safe but will make rebuilding after coronavirus much easier.

“A Universal Basic Income would cost far less than the bank bailout of 2008, and there is far more at stake – our lives and those of our loved ones. The pandemic has shown that all of us are vulnerable in a crisis, and some of the least financially rewarded people have had the most crucial roles to play. If anything good comes from this, it should be a wholesale rethinking of how our society works, and in whose interests.

“It is unacceptable that so many people are still falling through the cracks in available support. Hardworking people are being missed out, overlooked, and forgotten. I urge the UK Government to commit immediately to the one solution which leaves nobody behind.”

A Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a regular cash payment which goes to everyone regardless of income, background, behaviour or employment status. Much like child benefit and the state pension, it is not conditional on particular behaviour and it cannot be removed.

The Joint Statement says:

We are urgently calling on the government to prepare for a Recovery Universal Basic Income (UBI) in response to the coronavirus crisis.

As the scale and duration of the crisis becomes clear, it is essential that we take steps now to ensure that when we eventually emerge from lockdown, we do so with a fairer and more resilient society and economy.

We are likely to face a damaging recession, as well as ongoing economic insecurity, that will affect all of us. There will be more economic shocks from financial, climate and pandemic crises over the coming years. Income protection is too inflexible a tool on an ongoing basis and our current social security system is too cumbersome. Universal Credit is struggling to cope with the demands being placed upon it and many people are still falling through the cracks. The Job Retention Schemes are welcome, but will be unsustainable in the long term. As we likely exit lockdown in a non-uniform way at an uneven speed, the system simply won’t be able to keep up with people’s individual changes of circumstances. This is why we need to put in place plans for a Recovery Universal Basic Income – a regular cash payment to every individual.

The payments should be sufficient to provide economic security for people, but we are not proposing the exact rate or how long it should last, these are decisions for the government. For now, we need to put in place the mechanism to be able to distribute cash to everyone. This should include an urgent and significant increase in Child Benefit. This will provide an income floor nobody falls below and a springboard to recovery.

84% of the public now support the introduction of a UBI and our cross-party group shows support from seven parties across all four nations.

We urgently call on the government to put in place the mechanisms for a Recovery UBI so it can be rolled out as quickly as possible. This will help transition our society and our economy into a sustained recovery, and will become the foundation for a future social security system that provides genuine security.


Ian Blackford MP
Sir Edward Davey MP
Caroline Lucas MP
Liz Saville-Roberts MP
Stephen Farry MP
Colum Eastwood MP

Alex Sobel
Clive Lewis
John McDonnell
Rachael Maskell
Beth Winter
Sam Tarry
Kate Osamor
Chris Lennie
Kevin Brennan
Bell Ribeiro-Addy
Grahame Morris
Kate Osborne
Tahir Ali
Paula Barker
Claudia Webbe
Nadia Whittome
Ian Mearns
Baroness Kay Andrews
Baroness Diana Warwick
Baroness Mary Goudie
Baroness Ann Taylor
Baroness Ruth Lister
Lord David Triesman
Baroness Denise Kingsmill
Baroness Dawn Primarolo
Baroness Susan Nye
Baroness Helen Liddell
Baroness Janet Royall
Baroness Meta Ramsay
Baroness Hilary Armstrong
Baroness Joyce Quin QC
Baroness Christine Crawley
Baroness Helena Kennedy
Baroness Jean Corston
Baroness Rita Donaghy
Baroness Margaret Prosser
Baroness Doreen Massey
Baroness Anna Healy
Lord Peter Hain
Lord Simon Haskel
Lord Clive Soley
Lord George Foulkes
Lord Willy Bach
Lord Paul Drayson
Lord Jim Knight
Lord Paul Boateng
Lord Alan Howarth
Lord Keith Bradley
Lord Meghnad Desai
Lord Toby Harris
Lord Philip Hunt
Lord Clive Brooke
Lord Des Browne

Caroline Lucas
Natalie Bennett
Jenny Jones

Lib Dem:
Sir Ed Davey
Layla Moran
Malcolm Bruce
Christine Jardine
Kath Pinnock
Daisy Cooper
Claire Tyler
Lorely Burt
Joan Walmsley
Wendy Chamberlain
Shas Sheehan
Meral Hussein-Ece OBE
Sharon Bowles
Dorothy Thornhill MBE
Paul Strasburger
Tim Clement-Jones

Ian Blackford
Carol Monaghan
Mhairi Black
Neil Gray
Owen Thompson
Chris Stephens
Alyn Smith
Richard Thomson
Dr Philippa Whitford
Margaret Ferrier
John McNally
Kenny MacAskill
Tommy Sheppard
Steven Bonnar
Stephen Flynn
Marion Fellows
Amy Callaghan
Angela Crawley
Alan Brown
Hannah Bardell
Joanna Cherry QC
David Linden
Anne McLaughlin
Kirsten Oswald
Allan Dorans
Patrick Grady
Stuart McDonald
Alison Thewliss
Angus MacNeil

Hywel Williams
Liz Saville Roberts
Jonathan Edwards
Ben Lake

Dr Stephen Farry

Claire Hanna
Colum Eastwood

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