Guaranteeing incomes: modes of delivery

March 19 2020

At a glance:

In order to cope with the increasingly severe reduction in economic activity in the UK, guaranteeing the incomes of all those who are eligible for in-work or out-of-work benefits is rapidly becoming a necessary policy lever.


Payments need to be fast, need to reach as many people as possible in all sorts of employment situations, and need to reach the most vulnerable to the present crisis first and foremost.


This document is not a calculation of how much an unconditional income scheme or negative income tax scheme would cost. What it does is set out are four methods to implement such a scheme at whatever level the government sees fit.

Method 1: HMRC negative taxation

Method 2: Utilising payroll

Method 3: Utilising social security

Method 4: Mobilising the banks

Jo Michell is Associate Professor in Economics at UWE Bristol

Rob Jump is a Research Fellow at the University of Greenwich

Will Stronge is Co-director of Autonomy