UNITED KINGDOM: Jeremy Corbyn, candidate for Labour Party leader, recruits Basic Income advocate to draft economic plan

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn, front running candidate to be the next Labour Party leader, has recruited Richard Murphy, an advocate of basic income, to draft his economic policy.

Corbyn, a 66-years-old MP, not especially prominent in Westminster politics, has recently gotten tremendous media attention on account of his unexpected initial success in getting support for his candidacy for Labour Party leader, coupled with mainstream Labour politicians’ panic reaction against precisely this (Tony Blair, for one, has advised Corbyn supporters to get a heart transplant).

Although Corbyn himself hasn’t spoken on basic income yet, there have been some speculations as to whether he could possibly support the idea — namely: ‘Why Anti-Austerity Needs The Basic Income: SNP, Jeremy Corbyn?’ and ‘Universal Basic Income: How the Labour Party could stand up for workers, help the poor and be pro-business’.

Richard Murphy

Richard Murphy, Tax Research UK

It is good news for basic income supporters that Richard Murphy is involved in drafting Corbyn’s economic policy.

Murphy, an economist at Tax Research UK, is also an advocate of basic income and co-author (with Howard Reed) of ‘Financing the Social State’ (pdf), which recommends the implementation of basic income in the U.K. This policy paper was published in 2013 by the Centre for Labour and Social Studies.

Corbyn hasn’t published his detailed economic plan other than providing a brief outline. Despite this, The Daily Mail, The Times, to cite a few, have already termed it the derisory ‘Corbynomics’.

Will basic income be included in ‘Corbynomics’ (which I am using the term without ridiculing tone)? Will Corbyn win the Labour Party leader contest? We will know by the autumn. The party’s internal vote will begin Friday 14 August and close on Thursday 10 September, with the results being announced on Saturday 12 September.


Credit Picture: CC Chris Beckett

*Minor editing for a link and for responding one of comments below on 10th August

Toru Yamamori

About Toru Yamamori

has written 92 articles.

Toru Yamamori is a professor at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan.

9 comments

  • joseph

    I’m not sure that I like the way you say the mail and the times have branded his ideas the derisory Corbynomics, and then you go on to start using the term to describe Jeremy Corbyns policies in the next paragraph.

    • Dear Joseph, thank you for your concern and reminding me for the possibility for misunderstanding caused by my parcimonious way of writing. I insert ‘(which I am using the term without ridiculing tone)’ after my own usage of ‘Corbynomics’. Many thanks for giving me a chance to make this clear.

  • The Basic Income is being tried already in Holland. Not yet universal but experimented on those who were getting unemployment benefit.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/dutch-city-of-utrecht-to-experiment-with-a-universal-unconditional-income-10345595.html

    The Basic Income was called the Citizen Income by The Greens, but they could not put it into their election manifesto and it was said to have left the poor even poorer.

    But as Jeremy Corbyn advocates Rent Capping, the Living Wage et al, that helps to solve that.

    But it costs a lot of money to buy stuff to help you cope when you are disabled. So there would need to be a supplement for disability, which would face the same draconian losses under the rest of the attack on the welfare state.

    I never got disability benefit, nor sick benefit. Too sick and disabled for Jobseekers benefit.

    The Greens had the Citizen State Pension, universal and automatic, all the same money irregardless of National Insurance contribution / credit history.

    But The Greens never mentioned if they would reverse the rise in state pension age to 60, nor if they would equalise the state pension at 60 for men as well.

    This would take men and women out of the Citizen Income at 60, so a saving on that.

    The Citizen Income and Citizen State Pension both together actually pay off the national debt.

    Because both of these would wipe out the need of any and all benefits admin and all the IT development costs that have risen by the billions each year.

    Most of the Department of Work and Pensions would no longer be needed.

    You can shut all 750 Jobcentres down, that are just sanctioning centres and slave renting centres under workfare.

    Sanctions admin would end, so ending the trebling of sanction decision makers since 2008.

    End all work programmes / workfare contracts, as no longer exist under the Basic Income.

    Not have any fit to work assessment contracts, as no longer any business of the state.

    Housing Benefit would need to exist still.
    But could reduce with the Living Wage / Rent Capping that is such an excellent idea of Mr Corbyn’s.

    Citizen Income and Citizen State Pension at 60 for men and women, is self funding as well as funding neutral. It means all the billions wasted on welfare admin turn into money in people’s hands direct.

    The Citizen Income also helps small firms who would struggle to pay a Living Wage.

    But more important than all this, the label benefit scrounger and the hate crime against the disabled in wheelchairs and mobility scooters would end. Starvation would cease in all but the homeless.

    One thing to help promote the Basic Income / Citizen State Pension at 60 for men and women, is to counter the austerity lie that only people paying Income Tax in work are tax-payers.

    75 per cent of all tax, as you know Sir, comes from the stealth indirect taxes on each and every pound we spend, in or out of work, and however long we live, that have doubled over the last 10 years on the most basic survival items. Even VAT on water out of our taps.

    The Tories are back chasing the average death age with the rise in retirement age, which is not about people just working longer. Not all of us are in work and the over 50s disabled / chronic sick are unlikely to gain re-employment.

    The Basic Income and the Citizen State Pension at 60 for men and women would pour money onto the high street, generating business, so much needed Business rates for cash strapped councils, and create jobs, again helping the town centre shops with custom from those increased paid workers.

    There are also some people who face no works or state pension in life from the flat rate pension.
    Once the mythical single tier (everyone will get different amounts forever, in fact) hits next year, I think my petition will start to massively increase, as the victims have yet to feel its cruelty.
    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/state-pension-at-60-now

  • WCJB

    Just for the record, Corbyn does talk about Basic Income in this interview (he cops out), about 17 minutes in http://novaramedia.com/2015/07/interview-jeremy-corbyn/

    • Thanks WCJB. By ‘Guaranteed Social Wage’, do both the interviewer and the interviewee mean an unconditional basic income? In either case, it is interesting interview, thank you.

  • Whatever it is called, Corbyn needs a good grounding in economic literacy (a good start would be “With Liberty and Dividends for All” by Peter Barnes) as a defense against “being deceived by economists”, as Joan Robinson would say.
    Basic income, instead of the punitive and meanstested JSA, is an essential policy as a means of channeling buying power into the hands of the people.

  • Mervyn Hyde

    Professor Bill Mitchell has or is about to meet Jeremy to explain how debt free money can be spent directly into the economy and how to counter the deliberate misinformation expounded by the media at large.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnyDRwSqp2E

  • Gordon Wilson

    Jeremy Cornyn is getting to where we all need to be. Follow the money back to source & you’ll find it’s all (well 97% in UK) created as debt.
    Money created as debt IS THE problem, for there can never be enough money created this way to pay the debt & debt must go up.
    See The Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin Q1 2014 Topical Articles & online videos for a full description of how the western money system operates, in the UK context.
    The only way forward is to nationalise the credit creation system and for there to be a Citizen’s or Basic Income for all to replace most other benefits.
    However the powers that be want us to be in debt to the banking system and want complicated benefits because they’re what we have!
    This is simply because the banking system is in charge and their aim is to make us all debt slaves. Fact!

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