Guy Standing is en route to Belfast to promote ‘Basic Income’ as a human right 

Register here for - Unlocking Human Rights with a Basic Income – 7pm 10th December 2018 – Agapé Centre South Belfast

In the wake of a damning report into austerity by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Right to Work: Right to Welfare (R2W) and the Agapé Centre (South Belfast Methodist Church) have invited the ‘Basic Income expert’, Guy Standing to Belfast as part of the Human Rights Festival.

Speaking ahead of the event Mr Standing explained how central Basic Income could become in the ever changing political and economic landscape at Westminster;

'John McDonnell has committed to piloting basic income if Labour is elected at the next General Election, and Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has put money into planning initiatives in four parts of Scotland. It is affordable in all parts of the UK, and would work much better than the detestable Universal Credit. Ultimately, basic income is a matter of social justice.'

Basic Income has a growing global movement behind it and has been tested or implemented to varying degrees in countries like Canada, Kenya, India, Finland and Scotland. The concept, that society functions better when everyone; rich or poor, sick, disabled, working or unemployed, are guaranteed a basic income to sustain themselves, is gathering momentum in various countries with economies increasingly defined by precarious, low paid employment and drastic reductions in social security.

Guy Standing has been promoting the Basic Income idea globally for decades and event organisers have invited local politicians and civil servants to join with the public in the Agapé Centre to listen to Mr Standing and discuss the idea as a solution to the poverty crisis highlighted by the United Nations.

Seán Brady is a development worker with Participation and the Practice of Rights supporting R2W who are calling for a human rights checklist to be introduced into the social security system. He said;

With at least 15 food banks operating in Belfast alone there is no escaping the poverty in our society unless you choose to ignore it. It is clear that government initiatives to address poverty are either not working or making things worse. Welfare Reform has devastated communities and caused widespread lasting trauma. But other societies and governments are embracing Basic Income - a cultural shift away from blaming the poor for their poverty and towards compassion and common sense. PPR and R2W recently met with Leo O’Reilly, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Communities and his senior staff to invite them to this event. We hope they take up the offer because they will be needed, alongside political parties and civil society groups to make the changes necessary to implement Basic Income.’

Tony Weekes, economist and representative from South Belfast Quaker Meeting, said;

'I am very pleased to be working with PPR, R2W and the Agapé Centre to host this distinguished speaker. For many years we have been engaged in a range of initiatives to support the most vulnerable people in our society, often left destitute without access to income or the essentials. We aim to encourage discussions about how we can address the underlying causes of poverty in our society and Basic Income is one such powerful idea for progressive change.’

 Guy Standing is an economic adviser to the British Labour Party's, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John Mc Donnell, author of Basic Income and How We Can Make It Happen, council member of the Progressive Economy Forum and a founding member and honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), a non-governmental organisation that promotes a basic income for all.