The UK on Verge of a Major UBI Trial?

Over the last several months both Liverpool and Sheffield have been preparing themselves for a grand UBI experiment. But the whole project will require Labour forming the next government

The pledge is there, on page 60 of Labour’s election manifesto, dealt with in little more than three lines: “And we will explore other innovative ways of responding to low pay, including a pilot of Universal Basic Income [or UBI].”

That’s it – an offhand nod, big on unspoken ambition but short on detail. But still enough to set off the enthusiasm of the local activist groups that, all across Britain, have been clamouring for a universal basic income policy to be tested, and to be tested in their cities. As soon as the manifesto was unveiled, on November 21, pro-UBI groups in Sheffield, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, and Kirklees took to Twitter to share and re-share screenshots of the sentence, accompanied by jubilant captions.

“BREAKING NEWS 🥳 @UKLabour have committed to a pilot of Universal #BasicIncome in their general election manifesto,” UBI Lab Sheffield posted, before embarking on a retweeting spree of supportive statements from a variety of sources: from the Labour Party’s own pro-UBI pressure group, to a self-identified member of the “Yang Gang” – the supporters of US presidential hopeful and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, also an advocate of UBI.

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