The government should supply free housing, food, transport and wi-fi to help the nation cope with a future dominated by automation.
That’s the verdict of a group of academics from University College London’s Institute for Global Prosperity, who recommended the government consider “universal basic services” as robots begin to take on more jobs.
The institute’s plan would involve building 1.5 million new rent-free homes, and offering one third of all meals to the poorest 2.2 million individuals and families.
All over-60s would be entitled to free travel, and the state would also provide a no-cost communications package.
The estimated cost? £42 billion a year. The academics say this sum represents only 2.3% of the country’s GDP, and could be paid for by big changes to taxation.
Without radical new ideas…we face a future where the changing shape of our society and labour market leaves more and more people struggling
The radical expansion of the state’s safety net has been touted as an alternative to another, increasingly fashionable idea: the “universal basic income” or “citizen’s income.”