Green Party promise to replace universal credit with universal basic income scheme
The Green Party has made an election pledge of introducing a universal basic income by the year 2025, which will replace universal credit and guarantee every adult a minimum income of £89 per week.
These payments will be higher for single parents and individuals deemed unfit for work, including those with disabilities.
The party’s joint-leader Sian Berry told the BBC that the plans would come at a cost £76 billion, to be funded by taxation.
The new universal income, which would be gradually implemented over five years, will cover all benefits apart from housing benefit and carer’s allowance.
Berry said: “Only the Green Party has the policies and ambition to eliminate the cruelty of the benefits system and tackle poverty head-on.
"Financial security is the key to a good society... people receiving a universal income will have more choices, and more people will be able to cut working hours to retrain, start new green businesses, take part in community action or simply improve their wellbeing.”
The Greens say that any full-time worker on the minimum wage would see their income increase by 32 per cent thanks to their universal income, but the Conservatives have warned that introducing any basic income system would force cutbacks in spending elsewhere.
Plans to introduce such an income scheme have also been mooted by Labour shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, who said back in May that a report into universal basic incomes would be welcomed as an “important contribution to the debate around inequality, austerity, poverty and how we establish a fair and just economic system".
McDonnell said at the time: “Whatever mechanism we use, whether 'basic income' or another, we have to lead in developing a radical mechanism aimed at eradicating poverty, but also means testing.”