Seán Sherlock TD
11 April 2017

At next week’s Labour Party Conference in Wexford, the Labour Party will debate the concept of Universal Basic Income as part of the Future of Work policy paper discussion. Speaking ahead of the debate, Labour Party spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Seán Sherlock TD has said he is looking forward to discussing how UBI might work in Ireland.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“We often hear talk about radical reform of our social welfare system, in response to the decline of the traditional employment models and the threat to employment opportunities created by digitalisation, but there has been little public debate in Ireland about how universal basic income might work.

“Given these threats to standard traditional employment, and the uncertainty and anxiety around job attrition rates and the impact on society, we should fully examine the concept of a Universal Basic Income.

“Universal Basic Income is an idea being promoted and tested in an increasing number of countries including Finland which has just started a pilot programme. Over the coming months, Labour will explore that in the Irish context.

“And of course it already exists in one way – child benefit is a universal payment made every month to every family. It is not means-tested, nor does it vary from one family to the next. So the notion is not alien to Irish people.

“Given the rise in precarious employment, the end of one job careers, all of which impacts on people’s ability to buy a home and raise a family, it is important that we fully explore issues such as the Universal Basic Income. The jury is still out on this but the debate must and should be had on its merits.”

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