The SNP has renewed calls for the UK government to introduce a guaranteed minimum income – after Spain announced it would roll out a universal basic income (UBI) “as soon as possible” to mitigate the impact of coronavirus.
Ian Blackford MP said using the tax and welfare system to introduce a guaranteed income for everyone would fix the serious gaps in the current support on offer and ensure no one is left behind.
The SNP Westminster Leader has consistently called for the measure since the coronavirus crisis began – and has said it would also be a key measure to consider introducing for the long-term to create a fairer and more equal society.
Commenting, Ian Blackford MP said: “The UK government must reconsider its knee-jerk opposition to introducing a guaranteed minimum income for everyone, which would be the simplest way to ensure no one is left behind during the coronavirus crisis.
“There are serious gaps in the current UK system – and millions of people are not getting the financial support they need.
“A guaranteed minimum income for everyone would fix these gaps and put cash in people’s pockets.
“The coronavirus crisis has exposed the deep flaws in UK government policy and the inequality that is rife in our society.
“This would be a key measure that could be continued for the long-term as part of the enduring fundamental change needed to ensure a strong recovery and build a fairer society that supports all our people.
“The SNP will continue to work constructively across parties to secure the support people need right now – and the long-term change needed for a fairer future.”
Spain became the first country in Europe to introduce a universal basic income in response to COVID-19 over the weekend.
Minister for economic affairs Nadia Calvino told Spanish broadcaster La Sexta on Sunday night that the Spanish Government would bring in the emergency system “as soon as possible”, adding that if proven to be successful it would become “a permanent instrument” to tackle poverty.
After Italy, Spain is the second-hardest hit country in Europe with 135,032 reported cases of Coronavirus and 13,055 deaths.
UK Chancellor Rushi Sunak was urged last month to introduce an unconditional payment for every British citizen in a letter signed by 170 MPs.