Evidence suggests that a person’s health is heavily influenced by social and economic environment: income influences housing and access to health care; predictability of income influences the extent to which individuals invest in long-term interests, and experience of inequality influences level of stress. These factors influence behaviour, such diet and drug use. This evidence supports public health policies that affect social factors. Some have suggested that Universal Basic Income (UBI) could achieve this by granting secure cash transfers to adult citizens irrespective of employment status. This chapter outlines a model of impact which suggests that UBI can improve health by reducing poverty, increasing predictability of income and reducing inequality. While research suggests that these actions improve health, there have been no appropriate UBI schemes to assess that specific impact. There are several reasons for this, but most can be reduced to cost. After a decade of austerity and during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is both widespread concern about funding and understanding of the need for effective public health measures. As the Government is now committed to preventing, rather than just treating, ill-health and as the Welsh Government, among others, are piloting basic income schemes, this chapter sets out the existing evidence and points toward a series of challenges that need to be met by further research.
|Title of host publication||The Palgrave International Handbook of Basic Income, second edition|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Publication status||In preparation - 1 Dec 2022|