Think tank floats 'basic income' idea for all citizens

A think tank is calling for fundamental change to the system of tax and benefits in the UK.

The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) is recommending a basic universal income.

In a new report, the author calls the approach the best alternative "to help people improve their own lives."

The RSA estimates that its proposal would cost about an extra 1% of annual national income (GDP).

The idea is in principle fairly straightforward: a standard payment is made to every citizen. The report illustrates how it might work using data for taxes and benefits in 2012-2013.

The basic income for people aged between 25 and 65 would in this example be £3,692. There is a pension of about double that amount for those older than 65.

There would be a basic income for children too: for the first child it would be higher than the working age adult basic until they reach school age. Above that age, and for all children after the first, it would be below that level.

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