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Why we need a Citizen's Basic Income$
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Malcolm Torry

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447343158

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447343158.001.0001

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How did we get to where we are now?1

How did we get to where we are now?1

(p.13) Two How did we get to where we are now?1
Why we need a Citizen's Basic Income

Malcolm Torry

Policy Press

This chapter discusses the past and current state of the debate on the Citizen's Basic Income. It begins with the Poor Law of 1601 to the era of means-tested benefits. In particular, it cites William Beveridge's 1942 report which proposed a comprehensive system of National Insurance Benefits and centrally administered National Assistance. It then traces the origins of universal benefits in the UK, from Family Allowance to Child Benefit, and considers other failed proposals to reform the tax and benefits systems, including Tax Credits and attempts at a Citizen's Basic Income. It also explains why proposals such as ‘Universal Credit’ were and have been implemented, but not the proposal for a Citizen's Basic Income. Finally, it describes the National Health Service's (NHS) provision of universal, unconditional and nonwithdrawable healthcare and the global debate over the Citizen's Basic Income, and especially with respect to its feasibility and implementation.

Keywords:   means-tested benefits, Family Allowance, universal benefits, Child Benefit, tax, benefits system, Tax Credit, Citizen's Basic Income, Universal Credit, National Health Service

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