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THE NEXT GOVERNMENT has committed to introducing Universal Basic Income (UBI) in Ireland in the next five years, according to the programme for government.

The idea behind UBI is to give adults an automatic payment from the State that isn’t means tested and is given regardless of whether you have a job or not, as an alternative to in-work tax credits and core social welfare payments.

A lobby group in favour of the move towards UBI welcomed the measure in the programme for government and said that the Covid-19 pandemic has shown the need for “bold, innovative thinking” to support all members of society.

The Greens explained it their election manifesto  “UBI operates as a standard payment to every individual that is resident in the State without reference to their means or their ability/ availability for employment. It is non-means tested and does not increase or decrease as someone’s income changes.”

Supporters of the system say that it improves the well-being of citizens and empowers people economically so that their choices when it comes to work aren’t solely driven by financial need.

However, those who argue against it say that it’s not a sustainable model for boosting employment levels or encouraging those who aren’t working to seek employment.

A recent trial in Finland saw the government guarantee a basic income of €560 a month to a randomly-selected group of people who were unemployed.

Research published on the trial earlier this month said that while it created happier citizens, it failed to markedly increase employment levels I think it will have an effect on inflation also.

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