A SYSTEM of Universal Basic Income (UBI) will help Wales recover from the effects of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, according to the nation's future generations commissioner.

Sophie Howe helps policy makers in Wales think about the long-term impacts of their decisions.

In her new Future Generations Report, she argues there has never been a more critical time to introduce a non-means tested system of income to support all citizens.

“Wage poverty, racial disparity, imbalances in property ownership and quality of housing, job insecurity along with deep structural inequalities in the economy have been laid bare by Covid-19,” Ms Howe said.

“We’re being presented with an opportunity to enact change, but it needs bold, collaborative, inclusive thinking and political courage. We have a chance now to remedy past failures in the weeks, months and years ahead."

Her support for UBI is bolstered by a positive trial in Finland, where 2,000 unemployed people (aged 25-57) were each paid 560 Euros monthly for two years.

The study found people were happier, had greater trust in others, and higher levels of confidence in the future, Ms Howe said. Support for UBI is also gaining traction in Scotland.


Citing a YouGov poll, which found the vast majority of people (80 per cent) would prefer the government to prioritise health and wellbeing over economic growth in the aftermath of the pandemic, Ms Howe said Covid-19 had "exposed systemic flaws" in society, and that "everyone should be paid enough to care for themselves and their families in a time of crisis".

“If we want an economy that works for everyone, and a society where everyone knows they have a stake, it’s time for politicians to put GDP on the backburner and focus on well-being,” she added.

Speaking on Tuesday, the UK's business secretary Alok Sharma rejected the idea of introducing UBI.

Responding to a question on the subject, he said: “I think what’s very important in the way that we provide support - particularly more widely in the welfare system - is that we target it at people, and UBI is an issue that’s being tested in other countries and hasn’t been taken forward.”