In Brief

UK should give £10,000 to everyone under 55, says RSA

London-based think-tank proposes new sovereign wealth fund to give Brits a basic state wage

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Everyone in Britain under the age of 55 should be granted an extra £10,000 as a basic state wage, says a new report by the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

Anthony Painter, director of the RSA’s Action and Research Centre, told the BBC that the money would help people cope with economic uncertainty and technological change: “A low-skilled worker might reduce their working hours to attain skills enabling career progression,” he said.

The payments would come from a British sovereign wealth fund worth more than $1tn that has achieved a 4.1pc annual return, says The Daily Telegraph. To establish the fund, which is based on a scheme already introduced in Norway, the government should impose levies on big businesses or a “modest increase” on the taxes of the wealthiest in our society, says the RSA.

Anyone receiving money from the Universal Basic Opportunity Fund would first have to set out how they planned to put the funds to good use. Everyone would then get a £5,000 “opportunity dividend” for up to two years, taken at a time of their choosing over a decade. Dependent children could take their payment in the same year as one or both of their parents.

The dividend would replace payments such as Child Benefit, Tax Credits and Jobseeker’s Allowance.

HuffPost UK calls it a “radical” new sovereign wealth fund invested to make a profit, comparing it to public funds in Norway, which work in a similar way. 

The UK fund would cost about £14.5bn per year over 13 years and benefit up to 70% of the population, Business Insider says. In comparison, the government’s pension protections cost more than £6bn a year and benefit only 20% of the population.

The RSA report is the third in a series aimed at highlighting economic insecurity as a major problem of our time.

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