UK Labour Party adopts UBS as policy pillar

At their annual conference in Brighton this year the UK’s official opposition party, Labour, adopted Universal Basic Services as a pillar of their national policy platform.

Announcing the policy John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said “that everyone has a right to a good life… by providing public services free at the point of use – these services are part of our shared experiences.”

Watch the announcement here: John McDonnell’s speech to Labour Conference 2019

Labour Party published a UBS report, The Right to a Good Life, at the same time that pays tribute to the Social Prosperity Network at the IGP and our original 2017 report as the inspiration for their policy commitment, saying “We owe a debt of gratitude to the report’s authors for sparking an important debate on what services we provide free at the point of use.”

The report says:

There is no inherent limit to where the principle of “free at the point of use” should extend, other than where we as a society set it, and the next Labour Government will extend the scope of our ambition in unprecedented ways.

The Right to a Good Life : Labour Party Universal Basic Services report,2019

We are encouraged that a major political party has seen the potential for universal access to a platform of basic services to enhance the quality of individual lives and build social capacity in an affordable way.

Components our original specification for UBS that are included in Labour Party UBS program:

  • Free healthcare & social care
  • Affordable housing (1M over 10 years)
  • Free local bus transport (for young people <25)
  • Free school meals

A chapter on The History of UBS and the Labour Movement aligns the history of social change and labour unions with the commitment to public services: “The fight for essentials and desirables to be provided free of charge is one as old as society itself – taking any number of forms, from the militant trade union movement which laid the foundation of the welfare state in Norway to the children’s breakfast programmes of the Black Panther Party in the USA.”

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