Unconditional basic income, or a public-sector job guarantee, are usually discussed as alternative policies, though the first does not provide the benefits of an earned income and a good job to the ‘precariat’ and under-employed, while the second fails to assist unpaid home carers and selfemployed people. Furthermore, a job guarantee alone cannot support those who are unable or unwilling to work. We argue here that the only cost-effective policy for comprehensive welfare is a combination of modest basic income with a job offer by local authorities at less than the minimum wage.
A regressive tax system and welfare cuts under ideological austerity have generated growing poverty and inequality in the UK and US. Failures in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting deep recession have the greatest impact on the poorest and most vulnerable, exacerbating poverty and inequality. In contrast to this depressing history, we show in detail that a better recovery in the UK requires a radical tax reform and a universal basic income, combined with a Green New Deal for full employment and a low-carbon economy, employee self-determination and economic democracy to eliminate exploitation and establish social justice.