woman holding cash

Under-55s could soon receive £10,000 from the government with no strings attached

Is it too good to be true?

Chloe Best

Having an extra £10,000 would be life-changing for many of us, offering the opportunity to travel more, start a business, or simply live more comfortably with less worries about covering mortgage or rent payments and bills. That is why one organisation, The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), has advised the government to introduce a Universal Basic Income in the UK – meaning every British citizen would be entitled to a basic state wage of £10,000, paid over two years.

It may sound too good to be true, but the RSA has carried out substantial research to back up their idea, based on similar schemes that already exist in Finland and the US state of Alaska. The idea would see two payments of £5,000 paid over two years, but certain state benefits and tax reliefs would be removed at the same time.

woman holding cash

All UK citizens under the age of 55 could receive £10,000 from the government

The report says that the extra cash would help to support UK citizens through the 2020s, "as automation replaces many jobs, climate change hits and more people face balancing employment with social care". The payments would not be means tested, and instead applicants would simply have to demonstrate how they intended to spend the money.

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The money to support the scheme could come from public debt, levies on untaxed corporate assets and investments in long-term infrastructure projects. The RSA suggests that as the scheme would replace existing benefits such as Child Benefit, Tax Credits and Jobseeker's Allowance, the money the government saves could also go towards the allowance.

Of course, there are many pros and cons to the scheme. On the plus side, the extra money may allow people the opportunity to progress their career by taking courses or undergoing training they may not have otherwise been able to afford, or maybe even launch their own business. However, people who are against the scheme have suggested that it may actually serve as a disincentive to work, as people have a guaranteed income. While it is currently only a theory, Scotland has already provided funding for four local authorities to investigate the idea.

What do you think of the concept?