Maajid Nawaz: Universal basic income is next step for UK after Covid-19

10 May 2020, 13:27 | Updated: 10 May 2020, 13:29

By Seán Hickey

The party that vows to adopt the policy of universal basic income in the general election will dominate UK politics.

Maajid Nawaz was comparing the political atmosphere in the UK after the second World War and how the war paved the way for then Labour leader Clement Atlee to swoop in and introduce the NHS as an election policy. He could see the same revolution of UK politics post coronavirus.

Maajid stated that the equivalent today is the furlough scheme. He imagined that seeing as the Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer has announced that he is looking into the viability of continuing a model of the furlough scheme after coronavirus, there could be a surge in the next general election.

Pointing out that there is an overwhelming surge of support to introduce universal basic income after many European nations adopted similar income support strategies to furlough during lockdown, Maajid said that whichever party "rides the wave of public sympathy for universal basic income" in the next election could have a remarkable advantage.

Maajid cited the "public's appetite for wanting a change of lifestyle" as the core reason why now may be the perfect time to introduce a universal basic income and that "if you could campaign off the back of a universal basic income" there could be a transformation in the UK's labour force as we know it.

Maajid believes that universal basic income could be on the horizon post-coronavirus
Maajid believes that universal basic income could be on the horizon post-coronavirus. Picture: PA

Maajid pointed out that experiments on universal basic income have brought back "overwhelmingly positive results" and the furlough scheme could prove as the UK's trial for universal basic income.

"UBI is the NHS of 2020" Maajid argued. He added that "the first political party to adopt it as a political manifesto and promise will see a surge in support." He noted that the "majority of Europeans are in favour of universal basic income" and this is yet another sign that any political association with it will lead to a surge in support.

Maajid added that the introduction of UBI would also lead to at-risk employees having some peace of mind if robotics take over their jobs. "It does away with all the future automation of the labour market" he stated.

Another point Maajid made about the strategy is that the welfare state can be dismantled as a result. Once this happens in society, he pointed out that "you've met 80% of your costs right there with one move."

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