– comprehensive, non-conditional, and non-means tested –
– to ensure that everyone has enough to cover the basics such as rent, bills and food –
One way to help people through the current crisis would be to introduce the UBI:
An alternative would be the Minimum Income Guarantee
The New Economics Foundation is promoting the scheme as a way through:
A SAFETY NET FOR ALL
The Minimum Income Guarantee would make sure no one falls through the gaps in our social security system.
Yesterday the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) revealed that nearly one million people have applied for universal credit (UC) in the final two weeks of March – a 10-fold increase on the usual level of applications.
This enormous surge makes it clear that for many the coronavirus crisis is an economic emergency, as well as a health one. And just as some of us are more vulnerable to the virus than others, it is increasingly clear that some are more vulnerable than others to the economic shock. We need to make sure that, during this period, no one slips through our social security safety net by ensuring everyone has access to enough cash to meet the basic cost of living. And we need to do it immediately.
We urgently need to ensure that no one slips through the net. At NEF, we are proposing a Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) as an urgent part of a range of measures to ensure that everyone has enough to cover the basics such as rent, bills and food.
The MIG would provide an income floor for all working age adults for an initial three months, with the option to extend. It is comprehensive, non-conditional, and non-means tested at the point of access. Not only does this avoid the stigma of claiming, but it also eases the process.
We argue that the MIG should be set at a rate of £221 per person per week, equal to the 2019 minimum income standard, established by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Centre for Research in Social Policy, excluding rent, mortgage and childcare costs (forthcoming work at NEF will set out proposals for alleviating these costs separately).
Those already on benefits would get an automatic top-up to bring the main element in the relevant benefit up to the level of £221 per person. For new applicants to UC, payments will be non-conditional and non-means tested at the point of access, by using the universal credit advanced payment system — crucially this means no five week wait for payments.