Public lectures: Big Political Ideas

This page hosts videos of online public lectures on big political ideas. The lectures stem from PPR’s outstanding research and reflect our cutting edge undergraduate teaching.

The Health Case for Universal Basic Income

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.

In this webinar, Dr Matthew Johnson outlines this case, arguing that UBI can improve health by reducing poverty, increasing predictability of income and reducing inequality. It then considers the issue of funding. 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 governments elsewhere have considered introducing UBI to provide social security to citizens during COVID-19, the webinar examines the impact the policy might have on public budgets and whether the policy is feasible.

This webinar relates to Dr Johnson’s project, The Health Case for UBI