The RSA uses cookies on this website. By using this website you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more read our cookie policy and privacy policy. More Info

The RSA Emergency Basic Income scheme: Cash now for the self-employed

Policy briefing

  • Future of Work
  • Economics and Finance
  • Employment

This is part of the RSA’s series of short policy briefings on how to respond to the coronavirus now and build bridges to a better future as part of the recovery.

The government has announced that self-employed workers will be able to access a scheme similar to their plans for the employed, granting them 80% of recent earnings. RSA analysis finds that this does not go far enough, and calls for a basic income to ease the burden on those suffering from economic insecurity:

  1. The self-employed need emergency cash now. The government’s plan for the self-employed is slow, bureaucratic, and will take months to have an impact.
  2. A body of evidence exists which suggests that a basic income could reduce poverty and inequality. We are calling for an immediate cash grant of £1,500 per individual, with £100 subsequent weekly payments for the next three months.
  3. On top of a basic income, statutory sick pay should be doubled and available to all those whose income is primarily from self-employment.
  4. The lowest-paid three-quarters of the self-employed would benefit from the RSA scheme. The RSA scheme most benefits self-employed workers earning beneath £20,000 when compared with an 80% income replacement scheme.

pdf 904.7 KB

Contributors

Picture of Anthony Painter
Chief Research & Impact Officer, RSA

Picture of Alan Lockey
Head of the RSA Future Work Centre and Associate Director

Picture of Fabian Wallace-Stephens
Senior Researcher, Economy, Enterprise and Manufacturing

Related reports

  • Key workers in the pandemic

    Jake Jooshandeh

    This report puts forward a comprehensive agenda to tackle economic insecurity in key workers and ensure they are properly supported to enjoy secure, healthy, fulfilling lives.

  • How can private finance be a lever for green housing and energy in Belfast?

    Riley Thorold Josie Warden

    This paper outlines the distinctive local challenges and opportunities for green housing and energy and specifies priority next steps for pursuing this agenda in Belfast.

  • Pathfinding: The future of work in Sub-Saharan Africa

    Fabian Wallace-Stephens Emma Morgante

    This report explores trends shaping the future of work in Sub-Saharan Africa and examines the challenges that countries in the region need to address to ensure all workers are able to access good work.