The Welsh Internationalist

‘This could be our generation’s NHS’

UBI and a Four‐day Working Week

From Planet 240

by Harry Waveney

In a series that proposes how society could change for the better in response to Covid-19, Harry Waveney interviews the Future Generations Commissioner and other advocates for radical reform of welfare and work. In an era of automation and pandemic, could we reclaim our time for ourselves and our communities?

In mid-May, as the rate of infection and daily death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic dominated the news, concerns about the crisis’ social and economic toll began to come to the fore. At this time, Sophie Howe, Wales’ Future Generations Commissioner, declared that Wales ‘urgently’ needed a universal basic income (UBI) and should begin piloting a four-day working week.1 In August she called for the trialling of a universal basic income for artists.

A universal basic income and a four-day working week have both been offered as options for tackling a number of existing and emerging social problems, from unemployment caused by automation and homelessness, to health inequality, our mental health crisis and the dwindling power of trade unions.

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