Sunday, 11 May 2014
Politically, I'm neither right or left, but enjoy being a free thinker [OK, I admit I am a Conservative voter, am more on the conservative side of things &, said that I'd vote UKIP in the Euro elections, but this is as much a 'protest vote' than slavishly agreeing or defending everything UKIP stands for- neither care enough about them to do so and I don't belong to any political party. Plus my own faith plays an important part of my overall world view & overrides 'secular' political philosophy anyways].
One thing which attracted my attention was the Swiss vote on paying their citizens a minimum income of 2,500 francs a month.
I don't think it passed in the vote, but the idea intrigues me. Could we do the same thing in the UK? So in exchange for abolishing all other welfare payments & abolishing the minimum wage, we simply pay everyone in the country a basic living cost. If there minimum wage is £6.30 an hour, for a 40 hour week that would be about £13,100 a year or £1091 a month.
Allocated for the UK electorate as a whole, that is 46,107,000 (according to the office of national statistics, here) and assuming this is gifted tax free ( i.e. you'd pay tax as usual on your other income/salary, as you would now, but this basic income wouldn't be taxed) the cost would be £604 billion a year or roughly the amount of cash that the bank of England has printed via Quantitative Easing, which has benefited banks, hedge funds and insurance companies, and the current welfare bill combined. And if everyone earned more, a healthy chunk would go on spending (thus increasing tax revenue & GDP, via the multiplier effect) or paying down the colossal personal debt people have in the UK (itself a good thing).
I'm with this idea in principle. I am sure that the practicalities are more difficult, but where there is a will there is a way.
What do readers think?