Citizen’s Income News, Autumn 2011

On the 9th March the Financial Times reported that Hong Kong has paid HK$6,000 (about £470) to every resident. The recent Hong Kong budget has led to local anger that the Government’s large surplus has not been spent on better public services or on cleaning up Hong Kong’s pollution. The article suggests that in a fiscal context experienced as inequitable, undemocratic, and unjust, a small Citizen’s Income might be caught up in feelings generated by the wider context.

At its Spring conference, the Green Party reaffirmed its commitment to a Citizen’s Income. Alex Ramsay writes: ‘Citizens’ Income is a proposed system where benefits would be paid as one lump sum to every citizen, and then taxed back progressively from people as they earn – ensuring that no one lived in cash poverty. The motion was supported by Clive Lord and … Alex Wood, and effectively opposed by Caroline Lucas MP and Darren Johnson AM. Despite two prominent opponents arguing that the policy is currently unaffordable, Alex won the day, by arguing for higher taxes on the wealthiest. For me, you can tell a party is truly democratic when its most prominent members can be defeated by those using the quality of their argument alone.’