Universal Basic Income in the face of COVID-19: the way forward?

  • Scott Cato, M. (Chair)
  • Guy Standing (Participant)
  • Elizaveta Fouksman (Participant)

    Activity: Public engagement and outreachPublic speaking engagements


    The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragilities of the current economic system, particularly the lack of capacity to protect jobs, sources of income and the welfare of low-income families. One of the most positive consequences of the impact of the pandemic has been an increased discussion of alternative systems, more resilient options that would offer greater protection to all people.
    One of the key alternatives that has recently received considerable media and political attention is the Universal Basic Income (UBI). In the UK, a letter in support of a ‘Recovery Basic Income’ was signed by over 100 MPs across seven parties. In March, US Senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for UBI as a response to the COVID-19 crisis. Two recent studies carried out in April and May, conducted by researchers from the University of Newcastle, Lancaster University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have shown that beyond the media attention there is also an increase in public support for a UBI policy, both in the UK and US. At the same time, a YouGov poll as shown that 51% of British people are in support of UBI.

    Is UBI the system that will sustain a more equalitarian, fair society?

    This event brought together Professor Molly Scott Cato (Professor of Green Economics at the University of Roehampton and former Green MEP for South West England and Gibraltar), Professor Guy Standing (Professorial Research Associate at SOAS University of London, founding member and honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network), and Dr Elizaveta Fouksman (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Oxford) in a discussion about the economic landscape, the history and international perspectives of UBI, and the best solutions for the future.

    Estimated audience numbers (if applicable)

    Period6 Oct 2020