Sheffield’s 84 city councillors have today been asked to back a proposal for the first Universal Basic Income (UBI) scheme in England.

UBI Lab Sheffield, a collaboration between organisations including Opus Independents, Sheffield Equality Group and the University of Sheffield, have written to all councillors asking them to support their pilot.

UBI, an idea which has recently been piloted in Finland, Kenya and India, would see all citizens given a guaranteed level of income regardless of their eligibility for benefits or their employment status.

Jason Leman, Chair of UBI Lab Sheffield, said: “Sheffield has a good history of being a bit revolutionary, of trying things out. As a city, we have a heritage that recognises the value of creating and caring alongside work.

“That’s why Sheffield would be a perfect place to try out a basic income, and see whether it could make a positive change to the lives of people and communities.”

The proposal was launched on Saturday 9 March at a UK-wide summit for UBI activists in Sheffield and has been designed by Sheffield-based academics and researchers.

UBI Lab Sheffield have designed three options, each of which would be funded entirely by central government, the group says. Each proposal would give 4,000 people in Sheffield a form of UBI for three years.

The first option would remove conditionality from a specific set of employment-related illness and disability benefits, costing around £18 million to pilot.

The second option would see a flat-rate top-up payment of £130 per month for all adults. This pilot would not mean any changes to the current tax or benefit system and would cost around £23 million to run.

The third option would trial a full replacement of the tax and benefits system. This would see a range of residents receive £6,000 per year, plus additional money for people who are disabled, with children, or over retirement age. This pilot would cost around £60 million to run.

You can view UBI Sheffield’s full proposal on their website here: https://www.ubilabsheffield.org/s/SheffUBI-proposal-working-paper-FINAL.pdf

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