UBI: a welfare pipedream


In the Media

Christopher Snowdon quoted in The Sun

In the Media

Jamie Whyte writes in The Express

Jamie Whyte referenced in The Times

A recent article in CapX by IEA Senior Research Fellow Jamie Whyte criticising the latest proposals for a Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been referenced in The Times.

Former IEA Head of Public Policy Ryan Bourne wrote:

“Regrettably, this trial will offer scant insight into the realities of a national UBI. Lavishing every adult with an annual £19,200 income would inflate the government’s budget by about £1 trillion per year, nearly doubling government spending. Even as a replacement for all working-age welfare, the state pension and the income tax personal allowance, it would leave a net cost of £600 billion. The trial’s modest scale itself is telling: this UBI is prohibitively expensive.

“Nor is the trial’s design particularly helpful for testing contentious issues, such as the impact of a UBI on employment. A temporary £38,400 two-year cash boost isn’t equivalent to lifelong unconditional annual payments. The former might inspire a modest change in work or career choices; the latter fundamentally alters one’s financial ambitions.

“A UBI this large would also require massive tax hikes, which trial participants will not face. As Jamie Whyte of the Institute of Economic Affairs points out, by giving people the income without the requisite cost, the pilot creates an unrealistic ‘something for nothing’ scenario. A real-world UBI, with its attendant tax burden, would surely paint a much less rosy picture for the wealth and wellbeing of its recipients.”

Read the full article here.

You can also read Jamie’s original piece in CapX and on the IEA blog.