Universal Basic Income

It might be controversial, but Sheffield - once known as the capital of the People’s Republic of South Yorkshire - has never been afraid to court controversy for the right reasons (particularly around social policy).

The UBI Lab is, in itself, a testament to the way Sheffield operates, comprising a number of go organisations and individuals for a common purpose. They believe that there are four key reasons why Sheffield is a prime place as a test bed.

  1. Sheffield is a city of communities; as much a constellation of towns as a city, with some of the wealthiest and poorest areas in the country.
  2. Sheffield is a city of makers. UBI supports entrepreneurship, providing unconditional support for people who need the freedom to explore new ideas and take risks.
  3. Sheffield is an innovative city, and has the skills to run a successful UBI pilot, with two major universities and extensive public and third sector expertise.
  4. Sheffield is a city of change. Artificial intelligence and job automation is changing the face of labour as we know it, with Sheffield leading the way in these areas thanks to the digital and tech industry in our borders.

It’s not yet in place, but The Labour party have confirmed they would back a trial if they won a national election, and Sheffield council have backed the scheme along with John McDonnell.

If it were to go ahead it would be a first for the UK - and whether it works or not, Sheffield will continue its role as a city that pioneers the more progressive of social policies. The network of UBI Labs currently stands at 7 internationally, with Liverpool, Leeds, the North East, Kirklees, Jakarta and Bucharest all part of the movement.

Jonny Douglas (along with James Lock) is part of the team who have worked so hard to get the project to this stage, and continues, through his involvement with not-for-profits and cohesion initiatives, to help drive it forward with the rest of the board.

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