November’s debate was our third via Zoom and attracted an even larger audience, including one Peter Andrews from Canada, his second appearance with us. The topic was “Universal Basic Income is a good idea” which seemed apposite in view of various Covid-19 bale-outs such as the furlough scheme. The speakers Raphael Hill and Paul Chandler delivered the pros and cons with aplomb, throwing light on a complicated subject. Both recognised the many unresolved issues, particularly on the funding side. Raphael championed the concept of a ‘floor’ income, and being universal, no-one would fall through the cracks. This would make it of particular value for those working in the creative arts. Paul, opposing such a scheme, stressed the potential cost and the fact that, as needs were not universal, UBI could never succeed. There were contributions from two thirds of the ‘audience’, and the concluding vote was 46% in favour of UBI, with 31% against and 25% abstaining.
We are hoping to make accessible previous Zoom debates via this web site, with the aim of inspiring greater interest and more participation.