The experience of the Covid pandemic and of the current cost of living and climate crises show that the world has changed profoundly and more appropriate processes are required to ensure everybody has sufficient income to live life with dignity. Universal Basic Income (UBI) is such an appropriate. This initiative from Minister Martin is very welcome.
The introduction of a Basic Income has been proven in other countries to be good for wellbeing, good for entrepreneurship, good for the environment, and not to have any negative impact on labour force participation. We expect that any evaluation of the current pilot will show similar benefits in an Irish context.
While this model will benefit the successful applicants, it is not a Universal Basic Income and does not replace the commitment made in the Programme for Government in this regard.
In Social Justice Ireland’s proposal to Government last year, we had set the level of payment at the standard social welfare rate. This would see participants in the pilot receive €208 per week at today’s rate. Once the pilot is proven effective, and we have no doubt that it will be, it can be scaled to more groups to provide real universal coverage. The rate used in this pilot, of €325 per week, would not, unfortunately, be scalable in the long-term and we note that there is no guarantee that funding will continue after the pilot. We therefore continue to call on Government to introduce a real Universal Basic Income for all.