15 January 2020

Will Stronge argues for both a Universal Basic Income and Universal Basic Services: “With regards to some basic needs such as non-prescription medicines, local bus or rail fares, or access to the internet, free-at-the-point-of-use services could evidently do the trick. Indeed, some of the basic activities that we require to be able to engage in society could also be greatly facilitated by free services: family outings, for example, would be made much cheaper should there be free transport and free public leisure facilities. With regards to others however, services are clearly not appropriate: adequate nightwear, clothing for all members of the family, (personal) leisure equipment, a mobile phone, toys, celebrating special occasions, and so on. These basic needs constitute most of the list in fact. … Basic services and basic income are each very good at meeting different needs: services make more sense for commonly used, necessary infrastructures such as transport and health, whilst an income floor would allow people to acquire the basic items of everyday life in the 21st century and participate in socially-recognised activities. In these ways, they are not equivalent. However, deployed together they would be an incredibly powerful mechanism for eliminating poverty and taking people out of a scarcity lifestyle”.