Alliance must explain their £6 billion promise

26 November 2019

East Londonderry DUP candidate Gregory Campbell has called on the Alliance Party to explain their support for a Universal Basic Income which would cost over £6 billion per year in Northern Ireland.

Gregory Campbell

DUP Spokesman on International Development and Cabinet Office

Gregory Campbell

Following its inclusion in the Alliance manifesto he said,

“Within the Alliance Party manifesto, and expanded upon by Stephen Farry is a proposal to trial a Universal Basic Income in Northern Ireland. Stephen was very clear that Alliance favours a £90/week tax free basic income paid to every adult in Northern Ireland.

The eligible electorate in Northern Ireland on 1st November 2019 was 1,303,118. That figure will obviously not include any adult who is not on the electoral register but even that very conservative estimate would result in a bill of £6,098,592,240 every year.

Stephen Farry claimed the system was in place in Finland despite the trial there ending with no evidence of it increasing employment levels. Alliance also cited the city of Stockton, California as an example yet that in that trial it was only paid to people living in certain districts rather than to the whole population.

It is hardly surprising that Alliance would be unable to say how much their policy would cost when the examples they cite don’t even match what they are proposing.

The Deputy Director of Evidence and Impact at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has also stated that UBI schemes increase poverty for children, working-age adults and pensioners compared to the current tax-benefit system. Indeed, child poverty would rise by over 60%.

The Alliance Party need to explain their £6 billion promise.”

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