Writing to the Chancellor, Imran has called for the Government to support the self-employed and those on low-incomes through a Universal Basic Income to compensate for a loss of earnings during the Coronavirus crisis.
Despite pledges by the Government to support small and medium-sized businesses, guarantee sick pay and reduce Universal Credit waiting times to help support businesses and workers during the Coronavirus crisis, Imran has stated that these measures will not be enough to support those who are self-employed, those who are working in the gig economy or on zero-hour contracts, or those on low-incomes.
Imran also states that many self-employed workers and those on low incomes cannot afford to self-isolate and are often unable to work from home despite the Government’s advice, and has therefore called on the Chancellor to implement a Universal Basic Income and prevent families from being plunged into poverty because of lost income.
The Universal Basic Income, which has already been successfully trialled in several countries around the world, including Finland, provides each individual with a guaranteed weekly income, regardless of their financial situation and injects money back into the local economy. It replaces existing welfare payments and avoids the complicated, costly and time-consuming bureaucracy of the welfare system that with its drawn-out waiting times will take too long to prevent the effects of a lost income during the Coronavirus crisis.
Speaking on his call for a Universal Basic Income, Imran said:
“Whilst the Government has been offering support for businesses to cope with the Coronavirus crisis, these measures will be of little help or come too late for those who are self-employed or working in the gig economy, such as taxi and delivery drivers amongst others, who will all face a reduction in the hours that they work and a reduction in their wages.
“A Universal Basic Income, already successfully trialled in other countries such as Finland, will provide everyone with a guaranteed weekly income, putting money directly into people’s pockets to support the economy and circumventing the need for them to turn to a complicated welfare system that should at this time be focused on supporting the most vulnerable.
“When people’s jobs, incomes and livelihoods are all at risk through no fault of their own but due to what is one of the biggest challenges that the country has faced in recent memory, threatening families’ financial survival and the economy, we cannot afford to turn our backs on anyone and we have a duty to all come together and support one another in whatever way we can.”