The virus has brought the notion of a Universal Basic Income into focus. But is it really inequality’s silver bullet?
The virus has exposed deep fault lines across society. The poorest, yet again, will be the hardest hit. Emergency economic measures have bought some people time, but millions of previously ‘comfortable’ households now face a sudden and precarious situation. Charities, the arts and small businesses face ruin. Universal Basic Income, as a replacement for the welfare state, has been suggested by some (Tortoise members included) as a silver bullet solution. UBI advocates say it offers a humanising financial security to everybody, no matter what, improving wellbeing and enabling the kind of mass volunteering, creative, community and care work that we’ll need to rebuild society post-pandemic. But can it work in practice, or is UBI just a pipe dream?
Chair: James Harding, Editor and Co-founder, Tortoise
Our special guests include:
Michael Pugh, Co-Founder & Director of Basic Income Conversation at Compass, which blends community organising, research and communications to promote Basic Income in the UK. He is a Churchill Fellow having researched basic income pilots in North America and India.
The Rt Hon. Lord David Willetts is the President of the Foundation’s Advisory Council. He is a visiting Professor at King’s College London, Governor of the Ditchley Foundation, Chair of the British Science Association and a member of the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies. He is also an Honorary Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. Lord Willetts has written widely on economic and social policy. His book ‘The Pinch’, which focused on intergenerational equity, was published in 2010, and he recently published ‘A University Education’.