As a student with absolutely no idea of which profession I would like to enter, I often worry about my future. Indeed, young people from my generation will be the first to be worse off than their parents. House prices are soaring, the NHS is a falling apart due to insufficient funding and no industry is safe from automation, so job security is virtually non-existent. That is why many, including myself, are advocating a Universal Basic Income (UBI) and an inheritance of at least £10,000 to combat uncertainty in the job market and allow young people to invest.
Firstly, rapid technological advancement and increased productivity capacities threaten to reduce the number of workers in certain industries. Future Advocacy – which analyses policy changes in the 21st century – has argued that one in five jobs are at risk of being automated. Although automation and technological advancement has been beneficial so far, jobs in transport, retail, manufacturing and administration were most likely to become automated in the next fifteen years. These jobs, which are popular amongst those completing degree apprenticeships and students studying certain engineering or humanities degrees, would be harder to access for graduates, resulting in greater unemployment. UBI would alleviate the effects of automation by acting as a safety net as a solution to the economic problems related to mass unemployment.
Young people from my generation will be the first to be worse off than their parents
Answers to methods of funding the Universal Basic Income have been disputed by left and right-wing politicians, as well as Britons. While UBI is becoming a mainstream potential governmental policy, debated by organisations such as the liberal Adam Smith Institute and the Green Party, support for UBI appears to fluctuate depending on funding methods. Nearly half of Britons support the idea of UBI, but this percentage falls to only 28 percent when funded through cuts to welfare spending. Despite this, UBI would result in a less paternalistic government and give greater time to pursue hobbies, gain qualifications and do voluntary work in the local community, hence why UBI especially appeals to students.
Secondly, as the British economy is growing, wealth inequality is increasing, particularly for young people who do not inherit money or assets from their parents. Returns on capital gains and rents are growing faster than wages meaning that those who have recently graduated are often left behind as they start on low salaries and do not have significant investments in shares and property. A £10,000 inheritance for all 25-year-olds would allow young people to invest in their futures and can be funded through better collection of inheritance taxes and would be managed independently from government to ensure maximum returns. Over seventy governments in the world have set up sovereign wealth funds, indicating that they are a legitimate way of dealing with wealth inequality that threatens to grow and harm future generations.
UBI would result in a less paternalistic government and give greater time to pursue hobbies, gain qualifications and do voluntary work in the local community
For recent graduates and those currently in education, the future is daunting. Our economy only serves those that have assets and wealth, and these people will fare better through economic downturns caused by automation and the lack of investment in services, resulting in mass unemployment. Universal Basic Income would guarantee security for young people, while creating greater demand in our stagnating economy. An inheritance of at least £10,000 for 25-year-olds will ensure that all young people have the means to invest in their futures through buying property, investing in assets or advancing in further education. It is time that our government started investing in young people, instead of half-heartedly dealing with our problems. It is time to secure our futures.