The campaign for a basic income

Make Wealth History

basic income euThere are some great political ideas that seem to circle endlessly as nothing more than ideas. Campaigns crop up and fade away, the ideas are rediscovered and a new movement starts. Sometimes they can tick along for decades waiting for the stars to align for them. The financial transaction tax is one such idea, finally getting its moment as European countries press ahead with their plans.

The land value tax is another revolutionary idea waiting to be picked up, a fundamentally sound idea that has got within a whisker of implementation in the past, but has been defeated by land-owning interests. The Georgists will get their moment eventually, and I was interested to see that George Monbiot has recently championed the land value tax.

He’s also been writing about the basic income, which may be about to move back into the limelight. This year a new campaign started to…

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The SKWAWKBOX

More information on the government’s distortion of information on disability claims has come to light, thanks to a pointer from Declan Gaffney via Twitter. While the new information changes the focus slightly, it makes the government’s deceit, in the picture Grant Shapps and others are trying to paint, even worse than was at first obvious.

Shapps & co, along with their friends in the press, have claimed that 878,300 people decided not to pursue their claims for benefit because a change in the benefits system meant that they’d have to be assessed for their level of disability – and that this showed how much malingering there was under Labour and how necessary this government’s attack on disabled people is (though of course they euphemistically call it ‘reform’).

The additional data is a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) spreadsheet showing the caseloads and outcomes for the Work Capability Assessment (WCA)…

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The mincome is an inevitability. Unemployment and poverty will continue to grow over time to the point that a guaranteed income will have to be implemented to stop society from collapsing. However we must not wait, we must demand it now.

Make Wealth History

One of the recurring ideas that crops up in alternative economics circles is the citizen’s income. In a nutshell, it’s a universal and unconditional payment made to every adult in the country, every month. This provides everyone with a ‘guaranteed minimum income’, which is an alternative name for it.

We have it in a form in the UK already, through child benefit payments. A full scale citizens income would include adults too, with different rates for different stages of life. Everyone would receive it, and it would replace child benefit, state pensions, unemployment benefits and a host of other tax credits.

Reactions to this idea generally divide in two. The first group is ‘brilliant – free money from the government’. The second comes from those who think about it a moment longer and realise that it would be funded through taxes. Then they ask why you’d want to give benefits…

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the void

tesco-exploitationTesco claim to have called on the DWP to scrap benefit sanctions in a response to a letter asking them about their use of forced, unpaid workers.

In a humiliating snub to Iain Duncan Smith, the company set up their own workfare scheme outside of the Jobcentre system last year.  Tesco say that this scheme is entirely voluntary but add in the letter:  “I appreciate your concerns and can advise that Tesco have suggested to the Department of Work and Pensions that, to avoid any misunderstanding about the voluntary nature of the scheme, the risk of losing benefits that currently exists should be removed.”

Now unless Tesco are fibbing, if their scheme is outside of the various DWP workfare schemes, then it should be entirely voluntary.  The statement suggests that in order to avoid confusion Tesco would like to see all benefit sanctions removed.  Tesco want free workers without the…

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Vox Political

Last night I read a news report that, if true, shocked me to my core.

Headlined DWP seeks law change to avoid benefit repayments after Poundland ruling, the Guardian article made the following statements:

“The Department for Work and Pensions has introduced emergency legislation to reverse the outcome of a court of appeal decision and “protect the national economy” from a £130m payout to jobseekers deemed to have been unlawfully punished.

“The retroactive legislation, published on Thursday evening and expected to be rushed through parliament on Tuesday, will effectively strike down a decision by three senior judges and deny benefit claimants an average payout of between £530 and £570 each.”

It said lawyers and campaigners have branded the DWP’s move as “repugnant” and “unbelievably disgusting”, saying it undermined the rule of law. That is my belief, also.

Then came the hammer blow:

“The Guardian understands that Labour will support…

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