Universal Basic Income is a political hot topic at the moment. The successful the New York City mayoral campaign by Andrew Yang, who has been a long time supporter of the policy, has certainly helped this.

Dozens of pressure groups and think tanks supporting the idea have formed across the UK, including the UBI Lab Network. But what about locally?

Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester has voiced his support for the concept on a handful of occasions, stating in August last year “we need a Universal Basic Income”.

Rebecca Long-Bailey wrote a column last March for The Guardian titled “It’s time to move mountains to protect people- we need a Universal Basic Income”.

However, while there may be significant support within the Labour Party for the concept they have already ruled out the policy for the next election, forcing those dedicated to the idea to look elsewhere.

The UBI Lab Network

Dr. Dave Beck is a lecturer and researcher in Social Policy, producing numerous academic papers on the subject. He is an outspoken advocate for UBI on social media and in makes his stance know within his academic work. So, he’s decided to take action, along with other activists in the community in setting up a UBI Lab in Bolton.

The Lab is not quite yet up and running, but when it is Dr. Beck intends it to be open to people from all around the area, not just Bolton. “The Lab is a place to investigate, study, understand, and learn from and campaign”.

The plan is to get the student unions at Salford, Manchester, Manchester MET, and Bolton on board to help promote the organisation and raise awareness among students.

A Better World?

Dr. Beck views UBI as something that transcends party lines, he said:

“It’s politically acceptable by everybody, on the left, the socialists, we see it as creating equality. For the people in the centre, Liberalism in its most broad sense means people to be free, to be liberated. Give people money in a capitalist system and they’re free.

The Capitalist system that we’ve got makes people unfree. Because you’ve got to be competitive, but only some people can, the people with the means to. If you give everybody money then everybody is free.

On the right, the Conservatives want to encourage people into employment having a UBI makes people more employable in the long run through education, and stability.”

He thoroughly believes that UBI could go towards solving the longtime economic inequality that Salford has suffered from, and has only worsened over the course of the pandemic.

“Immediately as soon as you give people a UBI you’ve ended poverty. I don’t know how many food banks there are in Salford and across the Greater Manchester area. They would close.”

You can find the Dr. on Twitter @DavidJBeckFood and the UBI Lab Network at @UBILabNetwork.

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