A motion to provide a Universal Basic Income for every citizen as part of the recovery phase of the Covid-19 pandemic is being put before Newry, Mourne and Down Council at their monthly meeting on Monday coming 6 July.

The motion put forward by Cllr Patrick Brown calls for a reformed welfare system in the wake of coronavirus, with the provision of a Universal Basic Income to help recovery as well as calling for investigation of a permanant UBI.

The Rowallane councillor has suggested a UBI of £1000 a month.

Fellow party member Jackie Coade has welcomed the idea of universal basic income being used to help with any economic recovery post Covid 19. Universal basic income or UBI is would pay every individual enough money to live on with no strings attached, regardless of their income or circumstances. It would not be means tested or taxed and would be paid directly into each person’s bank account every month (with pre-paid debit cards for those without a bank account or permanent address). 

Speaking on the issue Ms Coade said “It is essential that we explore everything at our disposal when putting together an economic recovery package post Covid 19. One such idea is universal basic income which puts money into people’s pockets and can be spent on a daily basis and giving a boost to our economy. 

"Potentially we could face a Covid 19 recession resulting in job losses and high rates of unemployment within Newry and Armagh. The issue here is there could potentially be not enough spending within our local economy fuelling an economic downturn. 

"We need to offset this by giving the people of Newry and Armagh a basic income into their banks every month meaning more spending by the public and promoting an active economy and helping businesses thrive.”

"We know from countries which have trialled UBI there is evidence of higher economic growth, lower inequality, less crime rates and lower poverty. UBI empowers people and has a positive impact on mental health. Essentially UBI gives people security."

Ms Coade will be talking about this with guests on her Facebook page tonight from 8pm.

The Motion

In the wake of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, this Council recognises the need for a reformed, fairer welfare system that protects everyone in society.

It recognises the need to provide economic security for all and invest in people to protect livelihoods and kickstart the economy.

Therefore, it calls on the Departments of Communities and Finance and the UK Treasury to design and deliver a recovery Universal Basic Income (UBI) for Northern Ireland.

Additionally, this Council supports in principle the investigation of a full, permanent UBI for Northern Ireland, recognising the need for a radical overhaul of the welfare state and the positive impact this would have on poverty alleviation, inequality and mental health in particular. Council will commit to producing a plan for how a pilot of a full UBI would be implemented within the District, and formally expresses its support for said pilot.

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