NEWS6 May 2020

Basic income favourable among Europeans, finds research

Europe Finance News Public Sector UK

EUROPE – Over two-thirds of Europeans surveyed by the University of Oxford and the Bertelsmann Foundation in March backed the idea of a universal basic income.

Euros and calculator_crop

According to the research, 71% of respondents ‘somewhat’ or ‘strongly’ supported the idea of paying all citizens a basic income, regardless of employment status. In the UK, 68% supported the concept. 

Additionally, 84% of respondents supported the EU’s plans to make minimum wage compulsory in member states.

It is possible that the impact of Covid-19 could have strengthened support for basic income and mandatory minimum wages. The survey was conducted between 5th-25th March with 12,000 respondents in the 27 EU member states and the UK.

In a report on the research, professor Timothy Garton Ash, who led the project, said: “These results obviously need to be read against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic bringing outside life almost to a halt in the month of March 2020.... plainly the survey was conducted at a time of heightened economic and social insecurity.

“It is clearly too soon to say what kind of moment the coronavirus pandemic will turn out to be for Europe, but it will surely be an important one.”

Participants were also asked about their views on the climate emergency, with over half ( 53%) of younger respondents (aged 16 to 29 ) agreeing that authoritarian states are better equipped than democracies to tackle it.

The survey was designed by Europe’s Stories, a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at the University of Oxford’s European Studies Centre, in partnership with the Bertelsmann Foundation's eupinions survey project.