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Basic Income in Sheffield: Councillors asked to back radical pilot

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UBI Lab Sheffield have written to all 84 councillors

Sheffield councillors have been asked to back a local pilot to test radical reforms to the welfare system.

Universal Basic Income (UBI) would see every citizen given a guaranteed income regardless of their employment status or their eligibility for benefits.

"We know that paid work is best balanced with caring and creating and just enjoying being alive," said UBI Lab Sheffield chair Jason Leman. "Basic income might be a way of making sure everyone can have that balance.

"The aim would be for everyone to have a humane safety net, everyone to be supported through good times and bad times, and everyone to be a part of it," he continued.

UBI Lab Sheffield have written to all 84 councillors asking them to pass a motion calling for Sheffield to be considered for any pilot.

Sheffield has a good history of being a bit revolutionary, of trying things out

In August 2018, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said that a UBI pilot could be included in the Labour Party's manifesto for the next general election.

Liverpool City Council passed a motion unanimously in September 2018 calling for the city to be considered by any future government for a pilot. Activists in Sheffield now want Sheffield City Council to pass a similar motion.

UBI Lab Sheffield is a project supported in part by Opus Independents, who also publish Now Then and co-ordinate Festival of Debate.

As part of this year's festival, adviser to McDonnell and economist Guy Standing will be speaking about UBI on 30 April.

"Sheffield has a good history of being a bit revolutionary, of trying things out," said Leman. "And as a city, we have a heritage that recognises the value of creating and caring alongside work.

"This history goes from the associations of little mesters to Ruskin, to the strong communities, creativity and businesses we have across the city today. 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."

Sam Gregory

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