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Black Women And The Case For Universal Basic Income In The North

The Universal Basic Income (UBI) movement has very few black women in it, with my voice often drowning from failure to speak up in rooms where black women's lived experiences are alien and unrelatable to the predominantly white, male, middle-class advocates that dominate it. With every chance that I grab to speak up, I am compelled to remind everyone that unless we look at policy changes that will include the least of us, our universality efforts are futile. 

UBI is an economic programme where every citizen is guaranteed an income. Regular cash payments are made to everyone unconditionally. This payment would be made to individuals and not to households, with no stipulation of how it should be spent. The payment would not be means-tested.

The gap between the rich and the poor in the UK is getting wider with inequality directly correlating to high poverty levels and black women in the north facing extreme poverty and among the least financially secure groups. At 9% in 2019, black people had the highest unemployment rate among all ethnic groups across England, Wales and Scotland.

Between 2010 and 2020, women were already predicted to bear 86% of the introduced austerity measures. Black women, according to Runnymede Trust and the Women's Budget Group, have been disproportionately affected and are experiencing the most significant average drop in living standards during this period. We are over-represented in lone parent families, are the primary unpaid carers in families and fly the flag for unpaid domestic work. These factors keep us in a vicious cycle of poverty that can only be overcome with a secure financial base such as a UBI.