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England: Green party outlines plan for basic citizen’s income

Green party (England) outlines plan for basic citizen’s income for all adults.

Natalie Bennett says payment to replace unemployment benefit would ensure no one lived in fear of losing their home.

Nathalie Bennett, Green party leader
Green party leader, Natalie Bennett, on The Andrew Marr Show, discussing plans for a citizen's income,
photograph: Jeff Overs/BBC/Getty Images.

The Green party would spend billions to give every adult – in and out of work – a citizen’s income The Green party would spend billions to give every adult – in and out of work – a citizen’s income worth more than £72.40 a week, the current value of the jobseeker’s allowance.

Natalie Bennett, the Green leader, said the policy would ensure no one lived in fear of losing their home or being unable to feed themselves. She said some of the cost would be recovered by the payment being withdrawn when an individual income reached a certain level.

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The renewed focus on the cost and feasibility of a citizen’s income, including the way in which it would differ from the government scheme to integrate universal credit, demonstrates the extent to which Green policy is now being taken seriously. The payment would replace existing unemployment benefits, but would be paid to people with jobs as well as the unemployed.

Bennett defended the principle of the citizen’s income saying: “What it does is provide a sense of security. No one needs to live in fear. No one needs to think: I have just been [benefit] sanctioned, I am not going to be able to put food on my table, I am going to lose my house next week”.

The cost of a citizen’s income has been put at £240bn, but Bennett said the payment would be withdrawn when an individual’s income reached a certain unspecified level.

She also said the party did not have an open-door policy on immigration, but those who have a right to immigrate should be entitled to exercise that right.

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Source: Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, January 18, 2015.

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