Every week the Central Somerset Gazette put a question to all prospective Parliamentary candidates. Below is the response from Jon Cousins.
Question: What single thing do you think would most improve the lives of the people living in the constituency you want to represent over the next five years, and how would you help to achieve it if elected?
Whilst broadband or living wage seem obvious, for me it’ the ‘Citizen’s Income’ – one of the Green’s pioneering economic policies.
The welfare state annually costs £110 billion, with billions more paid in council tax supplements; further billions in working and child tax credits. Imagine if all tax-free allowances, social security benefits, working tax credits, council tax and housing benefits – with all their bureaucratic administration costs – were replaced by one universal Citizens’ Income, payable to everyone as a right of citizenship! An unconditional, non-withdrawable income, sufficient to cover our basic needs, but not subject to means-testing; with no requirement for the recipient to be working or actively seeking work…
Eliminating age-old problems of unemployment and poverty traps – acting as a safety-net enabling people to choose their own types and patterns of work; supporting social welfare, where many carers are family members, including children.
It’s designed to create a country where no one lives in poverty; where everyone’s afforded the right to dignified, secure lives. Why? Because we’re citizens of a civilised society!
Nelson Mandela once said “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty isn’t natural. It’s manmade and can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” Who’d argue against that?
Jon Cousins is one of Glastonbury’s Green Town Councillors, Chair of Glastonbury Town Hall, and Prospective Green MP for Wells. A seasoned community activist, organiser, and green campaigner, he currently works with the co-operative movement in the UK and Europe.