Labour announce UBS for next government

The new economics of Labour


Universal Basic Services

“At the national level, the possibility of widespread automation has led to a resurgence of interest in the idea of a Universal Basic Income.

UBI recognises the importance of making sure that everyone can live well, even in a society where the relationship between work and income has become less straightforward.

The fundamentals of human existence should be available to all, regardless.

That’s why last year I asked our Shadow City Minister Jonathan Reynolds to lead a working group which is looking into the possibility and practicality of UBI.

Meanwhile, last autumn, the Social Prosperity Network at University College London released a report on Universal Basic Services.

They recommended that the principles of a Basic Income should be used to provide Universal Basic Services.

They asked: why should we have healthcare and education provided free at the point of use, but not other essentials of life?

The NHS – and its principle that healthcare is a foundational right afforded to all whatever their circumstance – is a cornerstone of our civilised society.

So why shouldn’t society extend the principles of the NHS to other basic needs of life?

We committed in our manifesto to the building of a National Care Service and a National Education Service, free at the point of use.

Why shouldn’t we extend this principle of universalism further?

Radical questions, of course, but important ones which we as a society will have to ask ourselves sooner or later.

That’s why I can tell you today that I have asked Jonathan Reynolds to extend the remit of his working group to Universal Basic Services: to the principle and practicality of collectively paid-for and provided basic services.

That working group will report back before Conference this autumn with a set of interim proposals for the next Labour government to transform the provision of essential services, to create a society that is radically more free, more equal, and more democratic.”

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