Universal basic income is essential to recovery says Blackford

MP for Skye Ian Blackford. NO F15 Ian Blackford leaning
MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber Ian Blackford.

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Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford has urged the UK government to introduce a guaranteed minimum income for everyone in order to limit the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis.

Speaking from his home on the Isle of Skye, the SNP’s Westminster leader used the first ever virtual session of Prime Minister’s Questions to challenge the Westminster Government over its refusal to consider a ‘recovery universal basic income’.

One of more than 100 MPs who is calling on the UK government to make regular payments to all adults in the country,  Mr Blackford highlighted the desperate need for financial support for millions of people throughout the UK. He said it was the only way to stave off a deeper economic crisis after the coronavirus lockdown ends.

‘A Universal Basic Income will put cash in people’s pockets and will help ensure a strong economic recovery and fairer society,’ he added.

‘The UK government must consider this option which would stave off a deeper economic crisis after the coronavirus lockdown ends.

‘The UK government can and must do more.’

Earlier in the week, Mr Blackford highlighted shortfalls in the UK government’s Job Retention Scheme and said the Chancellor’s unwillingness to amend the scheme would ‘leave thousands of people behind’.

He added that while he welcomed the move to extend the scheme to those employed by March 19, the reality of a flexible and fast-moving business environment meant many employers would not have notified HMRC by March 19.

‘I was grateful to the Chancellor for his time when we discussed the issue but his unwillingness to show any flexibility is deeply disappointing. He must rethink the scheme to ensure people and businesses don’t miss
out,’ he added.

‘The problem is an administrative issue, which if fixed, will provide a lifeline to many workers.’