WLG calls on comrades in the Labour Party (in Wales and nationally) especially councillors, AMs, MPs and Welsh Ministers, to call for a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for everyone during this unprecedented public health emergency.
While the measures announced by the chancellor to protect wages are welcome, they do not help people who are self-employed, freelancers and others in precarious employment: If the public health goal is for people to self-isolate, then financial security for all is imperative (‘All’ includes every citizen, including the homeless, refugees and migrants).
A temporary UBI, set at a level which will allow people to meet basic living costs, will help achieve this, alongside clear and unequivocal advice to the public.
It is important that the creation of money by the state is used to support people, not just large companies and banks. People will spend this money in local economies, which will in turn help businesses when we are over the worst.
The fine details of this, such as building in opt-outs for those who don’t want or need it, or retrieval through the tax system for higher earners can be worked out by experts, but it’s essential that state intervention is universal, and that certain groups don’t fall between the cracks: this would compromise the other efforts to achieve the public health goal.
We stand by everyone during this period of uncertainty, but especially the vulnerable and those who were already struggling before this: many people will still be recovering from the destruction caused by floods, and economic hardship caused by years of austerity.
We send our solidarity to all, and our respect and admiration for workers in health and social care plus all those key to the basic functioning of our society in various sectors, those caring for others, those organising in their communities. and we implore everyone to heed the advice to stay at home, to help slow the spread of Covid-19.
Byddwch yn ofalus, byddwch yn garedig.
(Be careful, be kind).
Welsh Labour Grassroots Steering Committee
Pwyllgor Llywio Gwreiddiau Llafur Cymru