101 Reasons for Citizen’s Income

Reason of the Day

42

A Citizen’s Income would improve social cohesion

There is nothing wrong with difference. For a society to contain people of different ethnicities and different cultures can be creative and interesting. What is not helpful is that our society is divided by social class, by income inequality, and by wealth inequality. This results in unequal opportunities, particularly in terms of education, health, skills, physical environment, housing quality, and community and political participation. If one group in society possesses most of the opportunities, and another group possesses few, not only is social cohesion at risk, but the whole of society will be impoverished by the inability of some of its members to contribute as much as they would have been able to had they had the same opportunities as the fortunate.

The more aspects of the life of a society that its members can share, the more those members will feel that they belong to that society, the more they will want to participate in creating a good society, and the more they will want every member of that society to share in its opportunities. In the UK, the National Health Service is an essential institution in this respect, and Child Benefit is another (although the importance of its universality has not always been sufficiently recognised). Every citizen would receive an individual Citizen’s Income, so this too would bind society together, enabling all of us to feel that we belong together.

A Citizen’s Income would have another important social function that is not often recognised as such because the funding of a Citizen’s Income is generally discussed separately from a Citizen’s Income’s social effects. Taxation is essential to the maintenance of a healthy society, so to pay income tax is to participate in the creation of such a society, is to feel that you are a member of such a society, and is a stimulus to political engagement: because if we pay income tax then we will have an interest in how that money is used by government. If we raise personal tax allowances then more low-earning households will be no longer be paying income tax, and this will disengage them from an important means of contributing to society. To pay a Citizen’s Income to every citizen, and at the same time to reduce or abolish personal tax allowances, so that all or most earnings are taxed, would engage everyone earning an income in a joint project: the creation of a good society. The consequences for social cohesion and for political engagement could be considerable.

Support Citizen’s Income

Sign up on the right hand side of this page to join our newsletter.

Where to Buy 101 Reasons…

Order the book from the publisher. All royalties from the sale of the book go to support the Citizen’s Income Trust.

About the Book

101 Reasons for a Citizen’s Income offers a short, accessible introduction to the debate on a Citizen’s Income, showing how a universal, unconditional income for every citizen would solve problems facing the UK’s benefits system, tackle poverty, and improve social cohesion and economic efficiency. For anyone new to the subject, or who wants to introduce friends, colleagues or relatives to the idea, 101 Reasons for a Citizen’s Income is the book to open up debate around the topic. Drawing on arguments detailed in Money for everyone (Policy Press, 2013), it offers a convincing case for a Citizen’s Income and a much needed resource for all interested in the future of welfare in the UK.