The struggle of many families to work their way out of poverty and give their children a better future is something all politicians should be focusing on. Global research shows that a more equal society, where there is a smaller gap between incomes, results in less fear of each other, and a greater desire to care for those who are elderly and vulnerable. Our benefits system is failing and is costly to administer, and we also need to accept that the future may not hold full employment for everyone. More women are working, technology and automation continues to drive down the need for jobs, and better health means we are working until we are older.
In our area of Wales, we are additionally disadvantaged as our rurality can make poor people poorer. A report by the Public Policy Institute of Wales showed that fuel poverty, cost of living, lack of permanent and full time work, and that many goods have a a'rural premium' result in a higher level of poverty;
So we need to think differently in Wales. The Universal Basic Income pays everyone a basic cost of living - whether rich or poor, with no strings attached. Imagine a Wales where everyone lives in dignity and does not have to be stressed out about how to feed their family. The Universal Basic Income, or the social wage, says we will treat you with respect, and allows you to take risks. This will free people up to think more creatively, and perhaps allow people to set up their own business, help to care for elderly relatives, and build a more equal society. Surely this approach deserves further thought to work to heal the divisions in our society, and narrow the gap between the rich and poor.