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Basic Income


A new report on ‘Digital automation and the future of work’ examines the nature, scope and possible effects of digital automation in the EU.  It identifies threats to job quality and an unequal distribution of the risks and benefits associated with digital automation. It also offers some policy options that, if implemented, would help to harness technology for positive economic and social ends. Overall, the report pushes for a new Digital Social Contract and a future of work that works for all.

A study entitled 'Robots, labor markets and universal basic income' published in December 2020 takes an interesting look at the effects of selected labour policies - automation and basic income - have on worker productivity. 

'Building a New Social Contract – Policy Recommendations’ contains more than eighty specific policy recommendations that would go a considerable direction towards a new social contract to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of everyone and ensure that a no-one is left behind as our economy and society recovers from the impact of Covid-19.


Covid-19 has highlighted things that are profoundly amiss with our Social Contract.  Once the pandemic has been addressed successfully it is crucial that we face up to the radical reforms that are required if we are to deliver a new social contract based on the principles of justice and fairness, with sustainability at its core.

Social Justice Ireland welcomes the central recommendation of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce to establish a Pilot Universal Basic Income (UBI) scheme with a duration of three years.  A Universal Basic Income pilot scheme for artists is the priamry recommendation of the report 'Life Worth Living'. 

The National Economic Plan - to be published on Budget day - must give equal weight to environmental, social and economic considerations. Otherwise, this Government will simply repeat the mistakes of the past and many will be left behind.  The National Economic Plan must be underpinned by a new social contract that treats our environment, society and economy equally

The current crisis has highlighted serious issues with income inequality, job precarity and low pay.  The Irish Government introduced a COVID-19 unemployment and illness payment of €350 per week and an income subsidy of 70 to 85 per cent for affected businesses to continue to employ staff who cannot work from home but are not at work as part of the “essential services”.

Social Justice Ireland believes that the introduction of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) in Ireland would go a long way to supporting the right of everyone to have a decent income.  But how might it be paid for?  And how could it be implemented?

COVID-19 is causing people to look at how we have structured our society, and reimagine how things could be. Basic Income and Universal Basic Services are complementary policies, essential to ensuring that everyone in society has sufficient income and sufficient access to public services to live life with dignity and experience living standards expected in a first world country.

Basic Income is back on the agenda. Social Justice Ireland were delighted to take part in Basic Income Ireland's Annual Forum - Basic Income, Social Justice and Sustainability - discussing how a Universal Basic Income could be integrated into plans for a Just Transition. We were also interested to note that the Scottish National Party have included Basic Income as part of its plans for an independent Scotland.

In the latest episodes of our podcast, Social Justice Matters, we revisit our Basic Income conference from 2016 to hear from Social Justice Ireland founders Brigid Reynolds and Dr. Seán Healy on why now is the time to grasp the nettle. You can also listen to a short tutorial on Basic Income: the what, the why and the how. Listen in from our website, on Spotify, iTunes, PodBean, or Podcast Republic.

International Basic Income Week 2019 runs from the 16th of September to the 22nd. Social Justice Ireland has long been one of Ireland's leading proponents of Basic Income. This article contains links to a number of papers and videos on the subject of Basic Income, many of which were presented at our 2016 Social Policy Conference which was centred around the topic.

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