Coronavirus: Iain Duncan Smith says dont bring in universal basic income during pandemic as it would be disincentive to work – The Independent

Iain Duncan Smith has rejected suggestions that workers should be given a universal basic income during the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that it would be a "disincentive to work".

The former work and pensions secretary said the proposal, floated by Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey on Wednesday, was also "unaffordable".

Under the proposed policy, people would receive a universal flat payment to help cover their living costs during the pandemic. Ms Long Bailey's proposal is for the rate to be set at the living wage.

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But Sir Iain, said his think-tank the Centre for Social Justice had "ran the numbers" and found that the cost would amount to an "astronomic amount of money" - with a basic payment costing the Treasury around 260 billion a year.

He suggested that the delayed Universal Credit scheme, his main legacy at the DWP, would be a better alternative and "was designed with just such critical moments in mind".

"One proposal being pushed around at the moment is the redundant idea of a Universal Basic Income," Sir Iainwrote in an article for the Telegraph newspaper.

"Let me say now, its unaffordable, impractical, produces massive disincentives for people to work and most importantly wont make any difference to poverty in this country.

"And even if that werent enough, this would not be the moment for such a massive upheaval of our welfare system."

Sir Iain said the taper rate of his own Universal Credit system should instead be lowered to pay more money to people who lose hours due to the pandemic and "put a floor underneath employees as government steps in and takes the strain".

Writing in The Guardian on Wednesday, the Shadow Business Secretary Ms Long-Bailey called for "a fixed payment made to all, providing everyone with a basic minimum income of at least the real living wage, for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic".

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An empty platform at Farringdon Station in London the morning after the Prime Minister said that Covid-19 "is the worst public health crisis for a generation"

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Shopkeepers Asiyah Javed and husband Jawad from Day Today Express, in Stenhousemuir, Falkirk are giving away facemasks, antibacterial hand wash and cleaning wipes to the elderly in a bid to stop the spread of Coronavirus

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A usually busy street in Cambridge is empty as people stay away from public areas amid the coronavirus outbreak on 2 March

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Oliver Cooper[L], was sent home from school for selling spurts of handsanitiser to fellow pupils at 50p a time. He poses with mum Jenny Tompkins by their home in Leeds

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Empty toilet paper shelves at a supermarket in London on 12 March

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A member of the public is swabbed at a drive through Coronavirus testing site set up in a car park in Wolverhampton

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A Southampton fan wears a face mask before the match against Newcastle United on 7 March

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A loudspeaker placed in grounds of St Mary's Catholic Church in Broughattin, Dundalk, County Louth ahead of funeral mass later this morning. The loudspeaker has been placed in the grounds after the Catholic Archdiocese said that funerals and weddings should not exceed 100 attendees within the church building

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A hand sanitising station set up outside Cheltenham Racecourse during day four of the Cheltenham Festival on 13 March

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People wearing protective face masks walk across London Bridge on 11 March

AFP/Getty

The usually busy Royal Mile in Edinburgh is empty as people stay away from public areas amid the coronavirus outbreak on 13 March

Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

Ho bart's Amusement Arcade in Westward Ho!, Devon is offering toilet roll and soap as prizes in grabber machines

Rob Braddick/SWNS

An empty platform at Farringdon Station in London the morning after the Prime Minister said that Covid-19 "is the worst public health crisis for a generation"

PA

Shopkeepers Asiyah Javed and husband Jawad from Day Today Express, in Stenhousemuir, Falkirk are giving away facemasks, antibacterial hand wash and cleaning wipes to the elderly in a bid to stop the spread of Coronavirus

Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

A usually busy street in Cambridge is empty as people stay away from public areas amid the coronavirus outbreak on 2 March

James Linsell-Clark/SWNS

A hand sanitiser dispenser is seen inside the stadium during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on 8 March

Getty

Maaya Indian Kitchen in Milton Keynes is offerig customers a free roll of toilet paper with every takeaway order

SWNS

Oliver Cooper[L], was sent home from school for selling spurts of handsanitiser to fellow pupils at 50p a time. He poses with mum Jenny Tompkins by their home in Leeds

Ashley Pemberton/SWNS

Empty toilet paper shelves at a supermarket in London on 12 March

EPA

A member of the public is swabbed at a drive through Coronavirus testing site set up in a car park in Wolverhampton

Getty

A passenger wears a protective face mask as she travels on a bus in the City of London

AFP/Getty

A Southampton fan wears a face mask before the match against Newcastle United on 7 March

Reuters

A loudspeaker placed in grounds of St Mary's Catholic Church in Broughattin, Dundalk, County Louth ahead of funeral mass later this morning. The loudspeaker has been placed in the grounds after the Catholic Archdiocese said that funerals and weddings should not exceed 100 attendees within the church building

PA

A hand sanitising station set up outside Cheltenham Racecourse during day four of the Cheltenham Festival on 13 March

PA

People wearing protective face masks walk across London Bridge on 11 March

AFP/Getty

She said the system would "assist employers, who would then top up salaries to the level a worker currently earns" and "would provide a basic protection to all, and guarantee much needed consumer spending power to help keep people and businesses afloat through the crisis and until we recover".

She added: "This country is facing an unprecedented shock: its time to move mountains. We must actually do whatever it takes to keep people safe and financially supported. People deserve nothing less than the same level of reassurance that the government has already afforded to business."

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Coronavirus: Iain Duncan Smith says dont bring in universal basic income during pandemic as it would be disincentive to work - The Independent

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