Stop the Universal Credit cut.

Johnson and his cabinet are actively punishing people for doing the right thing.

No one in their right mind, with a sound view of economics, or sociology, or indeed politics, could sit in government right now and seriously consider cutting the uplift to Universal Credit that’s keeping so many above the poverty line as we speak, in the worst economic meltdown in 300 years, on the back of the biggest squeeze on wages since the Napoleonic war.

The government is dragging its feet and, as usual, being needlessly cruel. It knows it’ll relent, it knows Sunak will jump and and “save the day” at the last minute, prompting more superman graphics from the BBC, so why not stop the cruel uncertainty and give families that guarantee, right this minute.

Labour is right that once this is over, Universal Credit should be scrapped and forgotten like the failed relic it is, but right now this is the best we’ve got and we can’t reshape the benefits system mid pandemic. Labour should seriously look at proposing a wholesale overhaul of the benefits system coming out of this crisis. Taking advantage of Middle England’s newfound experience of the benefits system, and scrapping the whole antiquated system to be replaced with a Universal Basic Income.

UBI is a policy that’s time has come. Anyone seriously thinking about policymaking for the 2020s and 2030s needs to get on board, because this idea will only grow, and the benefits of it far outweigh the costs, with growing numbers of economists coming around to the innovative idea.

Labour should make the case for how cruel, punitive, and unhelpful the current system is, and introduce and build up the idea of a UBI between now and 20254, so as Starmer says, their next manifesto sounds like the “future arriving”. The future can arrive, in the form of a UBI.

Insightful and innovative UK journalism and commentary, from Toby Lipatti-Mesme.