Move toward a Citizens Income

Instead of bailing out banks and channelling money through them to increase spending in the economy, help needs to get directly to those who are creating new ideas and new jobs.

However, it is not just a question of creating any old jobs; the focus of our economy should be jobs with a living wage. A vast number of people in the UK are paid less than what is required to live above poverty levels in their area. These people then need government support, essentially providing a subsidy for employers.

We would lift these people out of the poverty trap, firstly by ensuring that the minimum wage is a living wage wherever you live in the UK, and secondly by unifying and simplifying the benefits system with the eventual aim of implementing a Citizens Income for all British citizens.

A Citizen's Income is an unconditional, non-withdrawable income payable to each individual as a right of citizenship.

The idea would be to introduce this income, reduce the amount at which people are taxed and remove some existing tax credits.

Instituting an automatic, non-repayable, non-means-tested and unconditional Citizens Income is a long term aim for the Pirate Party. Such a payment would replace all benefits and tax credits. However there are significant hurdles to the implementation of such a system, including the need for comprehensive research into the social and economic impact it would have and whether it can be affordable. We think it is likely that such a programme is possible but would have to be reached incrementally. As such we propose funding trials to establish how such a system could be implemented.

Importantly, the incentive to work must remain, as getting a job would not remove the Citizens Income but would raise the amount of money coming in to the household. It would also create flexibility for single parent families, carers, disabled people and people wanting to dedicate their time to community or volunteering programmes, as part-time jobs would become a viable means of support.

As a result, the minimum wage could probably be lowered, the tax code could be simplified and the poorest in society would be safe from a lifetime of poverty.

The Citizens Income would need to be funded through tax increases and would represent significant wealth redistribution, but it would also increase efficiency in supporting everyone and massively reduce the cost of administrating and monitoring benefits payments.

While the minimum wage could probably be lowered due to the tax code being simplified and other factors, we would still aim to ensure that the minimum wage is sufficient incentive to work and to live on. At present the taxpayer subsidises employers by providing means tested benefits to working people on wages so low that they would not be able to survive if they did not have recourse to benefits.

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