What is it?

Is it an idea whose time has come, or an irrelevance?

Could it give people back a sense of security in an uncertain world, or are there better ways to do this?

A Citizen’s Basic Income (CBI), also known as a Basic Income (BI) or a Universal Basic Income (UBI) is where the government gives each of its citizens an income, with no strings attached.


From a fringe idea 20 years ago, citizens income is now receiving much more attention, thanks to organisations like the Citizens Basic Income Trust and books like Rutger Bremen’s Utopia for Realists.

Citizens income is at heart a very simple idea, but it raises complex issues. Will it give people economic security or does it’s ‘one size fits all’ approach mean that some will lose out? What happens to the incentive to work, to families? Will it eliminate bureaucracy? How does it compare with Universal Credit? How does it compare with alternatives such as Universal Basic Services?

The Talk Shop discussion kit enables groups to explore all these issues, and more. It is a trial kit, so we are keen for people to try it out and tell us what they think, so that we can improve it before we roll it out.

Holding an Event

This kit is designed for you to run a stimulating discussion in a small group of up to 6 people in a couple of hours. You will be able to order a set of cards for free, and download the rest of the material too. In return for providing this kit for free, we ask that you spend about 20 minutes after the event giving us feedback on how the event went, and telling us the key points you decided here.

You can also organise larger conversations by grouping people around tables, or in circles, of up to 6 – with each table having their own kit. We will help you put on events like this, and support you whilst you are organising and promoting it.

Here’s what the card set looks like (click on it to expand):

To order kits, or get in touch about any other aspect of this topic, use our Tell Us What You Need page.

You can download a shortened kit with full instructions here. Don’t be alarmed about strange displays in Google Docs. Once downloaded into Word it will look fine.

You and your friends will gain much from joining in this discussion. They will learn more about the complexities of the situation and have oppotunities to listen, to question and be questioned themselves. Research shows that by talking about issues, participants not only increase their understanding, but also reinforce their memory of the issues.

For his expert input into our materials, we thank very much Malcolm Torry, Director of the Citizens Basic Income Trust.