40% of the public would welcome Basic Income experiments in their local area while just 15% would oppose them, according to a new poll published alongside an RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) report on how localities can develop alternatives to sanctions and mean-testing. Realising Basic Income models how different kinds of Basic Income could sit alongside other social supports and provides a guide for people looking to develop Basic Income experiments. The RSA argues Basic Income could help combat rising economic insecurity: earlier this year it found 32% in-work have less than £500 in savings and 41% less than £1,000; and that around a third of households already say they are not currently managing to get by, with a further third “just about managing” and at risk of a financial shock in a “decade of disruption” if Brexit and/or automation are mismanaged. According to the Populus survey of more than 2,000 people, the public supports local experiments by 40% to 15%, and thinks a Universal Basic Income would provide better security than the status quo by more than three-to-one (45% to 13%). Just 19% agree “the current system is working in the main so there is no reason to consider alternatives”, with 44% disagreeing with this statement – more than two-to-one. Other key findings include:
- The public overwhelming backs a welfare state guided most by concern for the poor and needy (54%) than a laissez-faire model of “stepping out of the way so people can stand on their own two feet” (5%): By far the public think the most important moral principle for the welfare state should be helping the poor and needy, which 54% support, followed by the contributory principle (23%), intervening in individuals’ behaviour (6%), stepping out of the way so people can stand on their own two feet (5%) and supporting traditional institutions like marriage (2%). Meanwhile 49% think a Basic Income would “reduce the stigma associated with recieving benefits”, with 16% disagreeing.
- The current system is seen as failing: Just 19% agree “the current system is working, so we do not need to experiment with Basic Income”, while 44% disagree.
- The public supports Basic Income in principle by more than two-to-one: Overall 41% support Basic Income, 25% neither support nor oppose it, while 17% do not support it in principle.
- But cost is a concern for the public, with 45% worrying it was “unaffordable”. The most popular option for funding a Basic Income is raising taxes on the wealthiest (39%).
- Basic Income is seen as complementing work rather than anti-work – 56% think a Basic Income would give people more incentive to work as it would remove disincentives to work in the welfare system – the so-called “poverty trap”.
- in Scotland, helping localities develop the proposals for planned Basic Income trials in four Scottish local authorities
- helping build a movement for a Basic Income globally through our world-wide network of fellows.