Using data from government and media outlets, it can be estimated that about 40% of the adult population are now dependent on state funding to survive. For example, over 6 million workers are furloughed, there have been 1.8 million additional claims for universal credit – on top of the pre-crisis figure of well over a million. Add to this the 1.3 million students receiving annual loans and grants and 12.5 million pensioners. (There are about 52 million adults in the UK over 18.)
With more predictions of an ‘L- shaped’ depression leading to the decimation of industries like airlines and automobiles, but also whole sectors such as hospitality; then alongside the continued use of ‘monetary funding’ https://education-economy-society.com/2020/03/24/there-is-a-magic-money-tree-or-a-forest-after-all/ – introducing at least a temporary form of UBI might be the only way the economy can survive the ‘new normal’ conditions of the long months ahead. Recent pamphlets make the case very well.
While it has support across progressive opinion and even Financial Times journalists now coming on board, UBI continues to be controversial in the Labour Party – of the 100 + parliamentary signatures https://www.basicincomeconversation.org/recovery-ubi calling for an urgent debate, only a handful are sitting Labour MPs. Many trade unions oppose UBI on the grounds that it encourages employers to pay lower wages and that workers won’t get their true ‘worth’ – reasonable assumptions for a labour market based on full -time permanent work for a large majority, backed up by a high trade union density.
But with thousands of businesses unlikely to open again and with the job protection scheme being wound down in July ; with maybe up to 1 in 5 having little or no income at all, these assumptions no longer hold.