Minimum income

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Arguably, proposals for a “citizen’s basic income” are neither “new nor radical” but historical and utopian (Perspective, 6 March).

A proposal called a “minimum income guarantee” was mooted by Juliet Rhys-Williams (a Liberal Party politician who later switched sides and joined the Conservative Party) 70 years ago.

This replaced all benefits with a universal payment and combined National Insurance with the tax system.

Significant was the idea of the flat rate tax “being levied on all incomes without exemptions”.

However, then as now, such an economic and welfare policy runs contrary to prevailing moral individualism.

It’s unlikely that public 
opinion would accept universal payments to everyone irrespective of their socio-economic 

Moreover, a universal payment, incorporating for example housing benefit, would
have to be hundreds of pounds a week.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk