In their bold new book, Anna Coote and Andrew Percy argue that this transformational new policy – Universal Basic Services – is exactly what we need to save our societies and our planet. The old argument that free markets and individual choice are the best way to solve pressing problems of poverty, inequality and environmental degradation has led us to catastrophe, and must be abandoned. The authors show that expanding the principle of collective universal service provision to everyday essentials like transport, childcare and housing is not only the best way of tackling many of the biggest problems facing the contemporary world: it’s also efficient, practical and affordable.
Anyone who cares about fighting for a fairer, greener and more democratic world should read this book.
“If the UK is so rich, why do so many of us feel so poor? Coote and Percy argue that by rethinking what, how and why we provide collectively, we can ensure that the economy and society works for everybody.”
Jonathan Portes, Kings College London
“This compelling book sets out how to build the capacities and capabilities of individuals and communities through reinvigorating and extending support for public services. UBS is a new and imaginative approach to the welfare state in the twenty first century. The argument presented here is required reading for anyone interested in how the UK can weather the coming storms of economic and political transformation”
Henrietta L. Moore, Founder & Director, Institute for Global Prosperity
“In arguing for universal basic services Anna Coote and Andrew Percy call on us to think differently about both the scope and character of public services in rich countries. They do not want free services for everyone, all of the time, but they explain why the state must take responsibility for seeing that our essential needs are met without cost ever being a barrier. These proposals are ambitious but not utopian and sit squarely within the practical traditions of post-1945 democratic socialism and human rights.”
Andrew Harrop, General Secretary of the Fabian Society
“What if there were a way to reduce inequality, promote social solidarity, improve levels of education and health, and create a better functioning democracy, all in the context of sustainability? Universal Basic Services. How does it compare with Universal Basic Income? Read the book. It is beautifully simple in its writing and elegant in argument.”
Michael Marmot, Director, UCL Institute of Health Equity
“This is an important contribution to the debate about the future of our public services, which have been so damaged by austerity. Arguing for more and better collectively-funded public services to reduce inequalities at the same time as promoting solidarity and sustainability, the evidence presented reveals the limitations of a ‘universal basic income’.”
Hilary Land, University of Bristol
“Universal basic services speak to the necessity for everybody in a thriving society to have shared experiences and a common understanding of the resources needed for people to participate fully. We do not have that, after years of individualist policies and austerity; as a result our society is fracturing. This book speaks to the urgent need for everybody to have access to collective services that are sufficient to meet their needs.”
Diane Coyle, co-director, Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Cambridge University