Universal basic income: Let’s tackle entrenched inequality

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 September 2020

Cllr Anton Georgiou, Liberal Democrat Councillor, Alperton

Cllr Anton Georgiou, Liberal Democrat Councillor, Alperton


As a councillor in one of the most diverse wards in Brent, I am acutely aware of the entrenched inequality that exists here. This has been further tragically exposed by Covid-19.

Alperton is amongst the hardest-hit wards, with one of the highest death rates in the borough.

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Government studies which show the disproportionate way the virus is impacting certain ethnic groups and also a Brent commissioned poverty report, seek to shed a light on why we were so gravely impacted. In some respects, it was a perfect storm - high levels of poverty, exploited frontline workers, many of whom are from ethnic minority backgrounds and overcrowded, poor housing that allowed Covid-19 to rip a hole right through our community - one that will take a lot to recover from.

It is clear that the only way to recover and ensure that the most vulnerable groups are safeguarded into the future is to seek to address the huge inequalities that exist. That is why I support a universal basic income - a guaranteed annual income for every citizen.

It would give an additional safety net to so many who at present are simply just getting by. In 2020 we still witness people living in wholly unsuitable conditions and as we’ve seen, exposed to dangerous circumstances. We cannot predict the impact Covid-19 will have on our future and nor should we assume that we will not face another pandemic of this scale again. We need to start planning for the future, and give people the chance to prepare themselves for such a crisis, and I believe a universal basic income will provide that foundation.

Anton Georgiou (Lib Dem) is councillor for Alperton ward.

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