The idea of a guaranteed minimum income has been central to British social policy debates for more than a century. Since the First World War, a variety of market economists, radical activists, and social reformers have emphasized the possibility of tackling poverty through direct cash transfers between the state and its citizens. As manufacturing employment has declined and wage inequality has grown since the 1970s, cash benefits and tax credits have become an
important source of income for millions of working-age households, including many low-paid workers with children.
The nature and purpose of these transfer payments, however, remain highly contested. Conservative and New Labour governments have used in-work benefits and conditionality requirements to 'activate' the unemployed and reinforce the incentives to take low-paid work - an approach which has reached its apogee in Universal Credit. By contrast, a growing number of campaigners have argued that the challenge of providing economic security in an age of automation would be better met by paying a
Universal Basic Income to all citizens.
Transfer State provides the first detailed history of guaranteed income proposals in modern Britain, which brings together intellectual history and archival research to show how the pursuit of an integrated tax and benefit system has shaped UK public policy since 1918. The result is a major new analysis of the role of cash transfers in the British welfare state which sets Universal Credit in a historical perspective and examines the cultural and political barriers to a Universal Basic
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Peter Sloman is Senior Lecturer in British Politics at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Churchill College. He was a Junior Research Fellow at New College before moving to Cambridge in 2015. His first book, The Liberal Party and the Economy, 1929-1964 (Oxford, 2015) examined how British Liberals engaged with economic thought in the era of John Maynard Keynes and William Beveridge. He has also published articles in a number of leading journals and
has contributed to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- Transfer State: The Idea of a Guaranteed Income and the Politics of Redistribution in Modern Britain
- List of Figures
- List of Abbreviations
- PART I: THE POLITICS OF REDISTRIBUTION
- 1: Introduction
- The ideational story: The idea of a guaranteed income
- The public policy story: Redistribution in an age of neoliberalism
- From 'tax state' to 'transfer state'
- Plan of the book
- 2: Redistributive Market Liberalism and its Critics
- Approaches to poverty
- The shadow of Speenhamland
- The liberal collectivists and the welfare state, c.1890-1945
- The neoliberal reaction, c.1945-1965
- The rise of redistributive market liberalism, c.1965-2008
- Four critiques
- PART II: IN SEARCH OF A GUARANTEED INCOME
- 3: Social Dividends and Social Contracts, 1918-1955
- Varieties of basic income, 1918-1939
- Dennis and Mabel Milner and the 'State Bonus'
- Bertrand Russell and the 'vagabond's wage'
- C. H. Douglas and the 'National Dividend'
- G. D. H. Cole and the 'social dividend'
- Juliet Rhys-Williams and the 'new social contract'
- Beveridge's rival, 1942-1945
- 'A progressive policy for the right', 1945-1951
- The Royal Commission on Taxation of Profits and Income, 1951-1955
- 4: Negative Income Tax Comes to Britain, 1955-1970
- The limits of Beveridge and the 'rediscovery of poverty'
- The rise of selectivity
- 'Receive-As-You-Need': Enoch Powell, Douglas Houghton, and the income guarantee for pensioners, 1957-1965
- The Child Poverty Action Group and the debate over family poverty, 1965-1967
- Transatlantic crossings, 1967-1968
- Roy Jenkins and the Working Party on NIT, 1968-1970
- 5: 'The Pragmatist's Solution to Poverty': The Heath Government's Tax Credit Scheme, 1970-1974
- Competition with compassion: The Heath government's fiscal strategy
- Arthur Cockfield's brainchild, 1971-1972
- The Green Paper and the Select Committee, 1972-1973
- 'Doing Something for Everyone', 1973-1974
- PART III: CASH TRANSFERS IN POST-INDUSTRIAL BRITAIN
- 6: Redistribution in a Cold Climate: The Politics of Guaranteed Income in the 1970s and 1980s
- Curbing the growth of the 'transfer machine'? Thatcherism and social security
- The Claimants Unions, the 'future of work' debate, and the revival of UBI
- Poverty research and the pursuit of integration: The Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Fowler reviews, and the 1986 Social Security Act
- Reluctant redistributors: The 1979-97 Conservative governments and the growth of the 'transfer state'
- 7: New Labour's Tax Credits, 1997-2010
- Reinventing Labour's social policy, 1987-1997
- Gordon Brown's Treasury and Working Families Tax Credit, 1997-1999
- Redistribution by stealth? The origins of New Tax Credits, 1999-2003
- Tax credits in crisis, 2003-2010
- 8: A Crisis of the Transfer State?: Distributional Politics since the 2008 Financial Crisis
- Redistribution and the 'Anglo-liberal growth model', 1997-2010
- The origins of Universal Credit
- Predistribution and the National Living Wage
- 9: The Return of Universal Basic Income
- Hermione Parker and the Basic Income Research Group
- A false dawn: The politics of basic income in the 1980s and 1990s
- Global networks and local experiments: UBI since the 2008 financial crisis
- Reframing basic income
- The problem with pilots
- PART IV: CONCLUSION
- 10: What Kind of Transfer State?
- Universal Credit
- The case for basic income
- Twenty-first-century challenges
- Manuscript and archival sources
- Newspapers and periodicals
- Official papers
- Books and articles
- Unpublished papers and dissertations
- Speeches and public statements
- Statistics and data series
Dewey Decimal Classfication (DDC)
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