Basic income: the power of choice

Life is not a level playing field. From our birth to our death, each of our journeys is never quite the same. Nature and Nurture play a fundamental role in our lives. From our birth place to our caregivers, our physical and mental genetic make-up and the lottery which we call life.

If we were robots, like the automation of our modern workforce, then there would be no disparity but we are not. Our current system of capitalism is failing to trickle down, as intended, as those at the top become greedy without scrutiny. The results are the most vulnerable at the bottom, even those in full time work, not being able to survive. To be able to afford the building blocks of life, food, clothes and housing. Shelter being the greatest problem because of the sheer cost in compassion to wages.

A little about me. I was born on a council estate. Both parents were out of work and on benefits. They had a differing catalogue of mental health problems and addictions. My father was highly mentally abusive towards me. This has a big affect on one’s confidence and self esteem, with resilience being formed in childhood. I left school at 12. I have no qualifications.

Learning to avoid the dangers I faced when I was a child stayed with me. I became socially anxious. My life stagnated but there was little help in the current system. Instead if you wanted money to survive you were expected to do work you wasn’t skilled to do. So I claimed NOTHING. If there was a basic income there are many things I could have done.

I could of had the freedom to develop personally. To learn new skills or to start a small business, all with the security basic income affords.

I stayed in very poor living conditions until I was 29 years old. Then my partner fell pregnant and I left home 2 days before my beautiful child was born.

It was agreed that I should stay home and take care of our baby as my partner had a good career. Me and my child bonded inseparably. Then when she was 5 me and my partner separated.

I was left with no home, money or job. I could not get access to the legal system to get my child back. This means family justice is only for the wealthy, “which isn’t justice”

It means I can’t afford housing which affects not only me but my child and her life chances in turn.

A basic income would of given me security in this time of upheaval. Access to legal proceedings and money for rent, food etc.

It would give me and others above all dignity. We all want to work and contribute to society but we all need different help in achieving this. As I sit in the house which I currently sofa surf, falling down around me. If I stand, the crumbling tiles of asbestos in the livingroom break up further. I wonder of the morals of our society’s elite. With profits at record levels failing to find there way down. The poor in return, blamed for the state of the economy.

In the 21st century having mastered much of modern living has to offer. A time when we have more than ever. Why is incidents of Mental Health rates rising. Why is physical health declining and why are suicides increasing? Why is crime such a big part of our communities, especially the poorest ones?

If we are not allotted a plot of land to grow food and build shelter then we must have a basic income to give us a base to prosper in the system.

This piece is part of our blog series ‘Universal Basic Income: Security for the Future?’. You can read the other articles here.

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