Universal Basic Income idea has merit - Bernard Hickey

Morning Talk 06/06/2018

Newsroom Pro Managing Editor Bernard Hickey says a Universal Basic Income scheme has some merit.

He told RadioLIVE's Mark Sainsbury that a basic income for those under 25 wouldn’t be a bad idea.

“We already have a universal basic income, it just happens to be for everybody over the age of 65.

“You can’t do it for everyone, it would be too expensive at the moment without really massive changes to our tax system," he said.

“[UBI] ensures that everyone has a basic income enough to survive and have a reasonable life .”

UBI gives every citizen a government allowance, regardless of their employment status, to cover basic needs.

An experimental Universal Basic Income welfare scheme is currently being trialled in the UK.

There has been some recent media speculation that the New Zealand Government might introduce a Universal Basic Income here.

The concept came into popular thinking in the 1700s and, while heavily criticised by some, has now been adopted after successes in regions within Canada, Finland, Germany and Hawaii.

Studies into the feasibility of UBI in Scotland have been funded by the public, to the tune of £250,000 ($473,000 NZD).

We are running the risk here, that we have a small group of people who own all the assets and there's not much money left for the rest of us.

Poverty levels in Scotland are higher than in the rest of the UK, with child poverty expected to rise from 23 percent to 29 percent within four years.

Bernard Hickey says UBI levels the playing field for local workers at a time where the global market for jobs, and the introduction of automation and robotics pose a risk to jobs here.

“One of the problems we’re seeing now with our new economy is that opening up our labour markets to the entire world through apps and new technology is driving down wages for a lot of people.

“We are running the risk here, that we have a small group of people who own the assets i.e. own the tech companies, a bunch of robots doing all the work, all the money goes to the rich people and there’s not much money left for the rest of us.”

Listen to the full interview with Bernard Hickey above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.