£10,000 proposed for everyone under 55
The government should give £10,000 to every citizen under 55, a report suggests.
The Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) said it could pave the way to everyone getting a basic state wage.
The idea sees two payments of £5,000 paid over two years, but certain state benefits and tax reliefs would be removed at the same time.
The RSA said it would compensate workers for the way jobs are changing.
The money would help to steer UK citizens through the 2020s, “as automation replaces many jobs, climate change hits and more people face balancing employment with social care”, the report said.
Payments would come from a British sovereign wealth fund in the form of two annual £5,000 dividends, the RSA proposes.
The payments would not be means tested, and applicants would only have to demonstrate how they intended to use the money.
Anthony Painter, director of the RSA’s Action and Research Centre, said: “The simple fact is that too many households are highly vulnerable to a shock in a decade of disruption, with storm clouds on the horizon if automation, Brexit and an ageing population are mismanaged.
“Without a real change in our thinking, neither tweaks to the welfare state nor getting people into work alone, when the link between hard work and fair pay has broken, will help working people meet the challenges ahead.”
A Government spokesperson said: “Our priority is to have a welfare system that supports those who work and cares for those who can’t, while being fair to the taxpayer.
“Providing a universal basic income would not allow for the same targeted support that is tailored to meet individual needs.”
But the RSA The report says the fund could help people: “A low-skilled worker might reduce their working hours to attain skills enabling career progression.