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Latest Social Liberal Forum publication: Universal Basic Income as a tool for tax and benefit reform

August 10, 2017 11:54 AM
By Helen Flynn in Liberal Democrat Voice

Social Liberal ForumAt the recent SLF Annual Conference in July, a well-attended fringe session discussed the benefits and drawbacks of Basic Income.

My contention, as Chair of this session, was that we now need to be looking more closely at Basic Income, given increasing robotisation and technological change that will massively shake up conventional work, and given that our welfare system is creaking and needs modernisation. Basic Income is a policy that seems fundamentally socially liberal, and so it seems to naturally deserve attention from the SLF and all who are socially liberal.

Therefore the SLF is very pleased to be announcing our latest publication on this important subject area, as a way of stimulating more debate, both within the SLF and outside - amongst others who have an interest in this fascinating policy area.

Many readers may be aware that Basic Income trials of varying types and sizes are currently under way in Finland, the Netherlands and Ontario, Canada. In addition, Hawaii made waves in June 2017 when it passed the first piece of legislation aimed at exploring this niche but growing form of wealth distribution.
The bill, HCR 89, directs the Government "to convene a basic economic security working group," a request that can be seen as the first tangible step toward a US basic income program.

Our thanks go to Tom Holden, the author of our latest publication, who is a lecturer in economics at Surrey University. The SLF is very pleased to be working with him in publishing his work, and we welcome any feedback from interested members of the general public.

* Helen Flynn is chair of the Social Liberal Forum, PPC for Harrogate & Knaresborough and a former Harrogate Borough councillor.