Basic Income – an idea whose time has come

6th March 2020

There are no silver policy bullets to create a good society – but there are big, radical ideas that come close. 

Basic income is an unconditional guaranteed payment to everyone. Done right, it could ensure people’s basic needs are met and provide security in periods of transition for everyone in the UK. 

It’s about as transformative as ideas get. And lately it’s been getting a lot more airtime.

In the US, Andrew Yang’s presidential primary campaign has nudged the radical policy idea closer to the mainstream. Closer to our shores, Scotland is deciding whether to carry out a basic income pilot this June. The richest in our society are backing it too, from Mark Zuckerberg to Richard Branson, as the ultimate solution to automation. 

But we can’t let a policy this big be passed down to the people by technocrats and billionaires. We’ve done the research, now we need to build the movement. For that to happen, people have to be won over and to win them over, we have to talk to them and listen to them. 

That’s why Compass is launching the Basic Income Conversation to kickstart a national debate about basic income – an idea whose time has come. 

Whether you think a basic income is a costly sticking plaster, or you hail it as the cure-all for the welfare state – it’s time to have a serious public conversation about what a basic income could mean for this country. 

Be part of the first-ever conversation on a Zoom call at 7pm on 23rd March.

The Basic Income Conversation will bring the discussion to towns and cities up and down the UK. Taking it beyond the realm of academic papers and pilots, we’re setting out to learn what people really think about the idea. 

What makes us hopeful? What makes us nervous? What is a good life? What is the meaning of work? 

Basically, what does it mean to be human… 

Compass has been gearing up for this conversation for years. We’ve laid the foundations by building alliances with the leading voices on basic income in the UK. We’ve organised talks and powered research. Just last year we published our report Basic Income for All: From Desirability to Feasibility

You’ve been on this journey with us. That’s why we want you, our members and supporters, to be part of the first-ever conversation. 

Only by confronting the difficult questions and tensions can we build a broad and popular movement for a truly progressive basic income in the UK.