As we know the virus is currently laying waste to the UK economy. The Leisure and Tourism industries combined are over £400 billion of revenues per year according to Government statistics.
The £350 billion that the Government announced in bailout loans yesterday is only going to be a band ai for a few months, unless the virus challenge is overcome, then so too will our modern economy and our Government finances.
What a challenge that will be!
However, we cna hope that the worst of it is over in the next couple of months. Until then the US Government is considering giving everyone $1000 into their accounts to help them with bills and see through these dark times. On paper I like this idea, as it is simple and easy to do (IRS/HMRC have everyone's bank account details already) - it gets the cash where it is needed.
I am less sure about Universal Basic Income as a long term play though - becuase although it should allow for a more felxible and less stressed workforce it is also ruiniously expensive. It ends up being a middle class subsidy for wannabe actors and muscisians or those who endlessly study degrees - or even those who want to apprentice as MP's for a while. Meanwhile the workes pay huge taxes to support this and the truly needy see their benefits cut.
To give an example, the NHS costs around £2200 per person, with UBI we would have to give say £500 a month for it to be realistic - so £6,000 a year. That plus the NHS is £8,2000 per person per annum. At over £750 billion, that is more than the UK Government's entire spending and 250% more than we currently spend on all social benefits and the NHS added together.
Where would the tax come from when so many people could eeek out a meagre living by doing nothing?
So for me the principle of UBI is quite sound, the practical implementation of it makes it financial suicide - what do you think?