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What is a Basic Income?

An unconditional (universal) basic income is an income paid to individuals, as a right of legal residence, without means testing or requirements to work. The payment is non-taxable and should be sufficient to cover basic needs. Everyone who qualifies for the payment will receive it from birth till death. Having a basic income in place will provide a secure floor for people to build on rather than a safety net with holes so big that many fall through.

The idea is not a new one, and many famous names have proposed it in the past. If you are interested in learning more there is an excellent page on the Basic Income Earth Network site which looks at the history of basic income.

What’s our story?

We are a group of volunteers who initially got together in 2013 to promote the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) for Unconditional Basic Income, which was signed by nearly 300,000 people throughout Europe by January 2014. In the UK, the ECI was signed by over 10,000 people. There is a new ECI for UBI now going until June 2022, which anyone with an EU passport can sign, no matter where they live.

We believe the time is right to build a mass movement in every city, town and village in the UK, pushing to finally win a basic income for all.

What’s our plan?

We aim to support campaign groups to develop across the UK, campaigning locally and by sector. By winning local campaigns we can build the momentum to generate a mass-movement. That movement – armed with evidence, institutional support, and political, social and economic power – will be able to win a national, unconditional and liveable Basic Income for all.

Who does BIUK work with?

We are members of Unconditional Basic Income Europe (UBI-Europe), an alliance of individuals and organisations from over 25 countries which also grew out of organising for the Basic Income ECI in 2013.

Since 2013 we have been working with a variety of activist groups on a range of specific survival issues like housing, disability, democracy, unemployment, health, and the environment. Many consider basic income as part of the fight for a better future for all.

We regularly meet ourselves and with other groups to keep everyone in touch and working in tandem, if also in different ways.

We work with Citizen’s Basic Income Trust, an educational charity started in the UK in 1986. Both organisations support the need for an unconditional payment to all individuals regardless of circumstance. Basic Income UK does, however, have a different view of how high the basic income should be, and what taxes should pay for it. We agree with the definition in UBI-Europe’s charter: “Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) is an amount of money paid on a regular basis to each individual unconditionally and universally, high enough to ensure a material existence and participation in society”.

We work with the UBI Lab Network, which since 2016 has been supporting local groups and politicians to pass motions in their areas demanding a pilot of basic income alongside several other projects.

We work with The Basic Income Conversation, which has developed a useful Conversation Toolkit you can use to talk about basic income with your friends, family, and groups large and small. It has been hosted by Compass since 2019.

Basic Income UK members have different political and social backgrounds and do not represent any one political party