Universal benefits such as Child Benefit are the most effective way of targeting scarce resources because they are cheap to administer, encourage people to earn their way out of their poverty, and are taken back from those who don't need them through the tax system, which is a far more efficient means-test than Income Support earnings rules.
If the Social Justice Commission decides in favour of universal benefits, then it might go on to ask itself whether what is good for children might also be good for everybody. To replace tax allowances and means-tested benefits with a Citizens Income (an unconditional, non-withdrawable and automatic income for every citizen) would encourage enterprise, promote individual liberty and improve social cohesion. It is precisely the kind of social policy Labour is looking for.
Director, Citizens Income
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