Dave Beck, Remco Peters, Gemma Bridge, Francis Poitier, Ben Pearson

Modern welfare in the United Kingdom is a universal (dis)credit to Beveridge. Is it time for a basic income?

  • Public Administration
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Development

AbstractUniversal Credit signalled a revolution in the delivery and costs of welfare provisioning. UC aimed to reduce spending on welfare, but in doing so now threatens the stability of a functioning and cohesive society. Over recent years, and most notably during the COVID‐19 pandemic, it has become ever clearer that adequate social security is vital to the functioning of society, as well as to the health and well‐being of the population. Yet this period has also served to highlight the fragility and insufficiency of welfare in the United Kingdom. This article explores how the current welfare crisis, is associated with UC. In this article, we also consider the uncertainty that UC has created in most recipients. We argue that there are other ways to support the most vulnerable in society, and that we are now at that critical juncture in needing to make significant change. Universal Basic Income (UBI) offers one such alternative by offering stable, individual, non‐means tested, and unconditional money transfers, to all citizens. Over the last decade, there have been multiple experiments around the world trialling basic income, each of which has a specific focus, or target population, as different elements of a UBI were scrutinised. In this article, we reflect upon what we consider to be the potential shortcomings of the current welfare system in the United Kingdom as a move away from its origin, arguing that the United Kingdom is now primed for UBI to be considered a fair and legitimate way to provide social security.

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