Letters to the Editor

Universal Basic Income of £30k could make welfare state redundant


I previously argued that if a tax-free universal basic income (UBI) of £30,000 was introduced then the entire welfare state would become redundant and so could be dismantled. 

Under current legislation for income tax rates there is tax-free personal allowance of £12,570, and earnings up to £50,271 are taxed at a basic rate of 20 per cent, £50,271 to £150,000 at 40 per cent and earnings over £150,000 at 45 per cent. Therefore an individual on average salary of £31,096 gets their first £12,570 tax-free, and they then pay 20 per cent on earnings up to £50,271, which amounts to a grand total of £3,705 Income Tax. And, of course, they also pay National Insurance, and many receive working tax credits and other benefits that can offset as they are scrapped. 

Firstly, however, under a tax-free UBI of £30,000 our average taxpayer’s total wage is first boosted up to £61,096. Their first £30,000 is tax free, and they then pay 20 per cent Income Tax on the amount from £30,000 up to £50,271 which is £4,054, and they pay 40 per cent on the rest, which adds another £4,330 to total £8,384.  

Individuals with a salary of £91,096 who have their total income boosted up to £121,096 by the UBI of £30,000, now pay far more Income Tax than they receive in UBI. And so the top 5 per cent earners, give or take, will not be a liability, but instead will be net contributors.   

Secondly, factor in Class 1 National Insurance and our sample will easily cover the entire £30,000 UBI at a lower salary of £81,096.  

However, these raw statistics disguise the real benefits to be accrued from a UBI at £30,000 (give or take).   

Real tangible benefits would arguably accrue from closing down the entire welfare state.
In the first instance, consider the saving from releasing all those working in the public sector (including civil servants) from their servitude. The Institute for Government indicates there are 456,410 civil servants and their median salary varies by department, but just under 90,000 civil servants earn over £40,000 a year, which alone amounts to a minimum £3.6bn per annum. However, it is argued (civil servant.org.uk/) that there are around 5.5 million public servants in the UK.  

However, the real benefit here again is not directly from removing the public sector wage bill from the public purse, which is considerable, but from (i) sequestrating their gold-plated pension pot and investing it in a sovereign wealth fund and (ii) their redeployment from mostly unproductive public sector jobs to fill the vast number of current job vacancies.
There is also (iii) the vast amount of capital that can be released by either leasing out or selling off the thousands of offices vacated by these public servants, privatising the NHS, schools, and other public estate. 

Belfast BT9


Victims deserve answers

Few would disagree with Tom Kelly’s article (July 25) that ‘Those who have answers should give them – victims deserve no less’, but the reality is that only the Truth Recovery Process represents a viable alternative to the courts. A conditional amnesty in return for the full co-operation of former combatants will supply the answers that not alone victims and survivors need, but also wider society if it is to heal.

Unlike the British government we propose the Truth Recovery Process as an alternative to the courts for those who wish to avail of it, not a replacement.

Many people are putting their hope in the Kenova team to deliver ‘Truth and Justice’ and Jon Boucher’s team has set a standard for criminal investigation that every police force should emulate. But after six years it has still only been able to undertake detailed investigations in about 40 cases and the number currently likely to result in successful prosecutions is in single figures.

The number of those with answers for the earliest and bloodiest years especially is rapidly dwindling. They will not do so without a process based on mediation rather than the courts.

Recent Irish News-Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University surveys have shown that the vast majority of people want this issue addressed. 48.6 per cent of unionists and 53.5 per cent of nationalists agreed with the proposition that ‘we can only get truth for victims and survivors if we offer conditional amnesties to those who offer up the truth’. Those opposed were 29.1 per cent and 12.6 per cent respectively. Political parties need to show the same degree of insight as the electorate.

Truth Recovery Process, Portmarnock, Dublin 13


Ireland must act now on climate change

Your paper (July 25) tells us that the Taoiseach will have to step in to resolve the row between the minister for transport and the minister for agriculture over methane emissions. It should be pointed out that the agriculture minister is not a spokesperson for the Irish farmers but a representative of the people. 

I write this while on my holidays on the  foothills of the Mourne Mountains where all around me I see how the climate is changing rapidly – the scarcity of bees, butterflies and general flora.  What is happening calls for global leadership and action. It cannot wait. Our children’s  children won’t inherit what we have.

Please no more passing the problem on. Act now.

Dublin 22






t is true because it is impossible’ run the words of a famous early apologist for the resurrection truth. ‘One Solitary Life’ fulfilling ‘The Suffering Servant Prophecy’ of Isaiah 53 may sound incredible. But the All Blacks losing a three game series  to Ireland in New Zealand is surely beyond belief. Ireland is a tiny country of under seven million people and rugby is a minority sport when compared to the scale of rugby’s appeal in New Zealand. To pull the series win off after losing the first test was quite an achievement – a miracle?


Belfast BT5



Letters to the Editor