Every adult in the UK should receive a weekly basic income of £48, according to the recommendations in a new report.
The move could be paid for by scrapping more than 1,000 tax reliefs, a report by Professor Guy Standing, a professor at SOAS University suggests.
The Labour Party – which has previously floated the idea of a basic income – said it would study the report ahead of drawing up its next manifesto.
A universal basic income is already being trialled in other countries.
The report, entitled Basic Income as Common Dividends: Piloting a Transformative Policy, was written by Professor Standing, an authority on the concept of the basic income.
He was asked to write it by the Progressive Economy Forum, a left-leaning group of economists.
Advocates of a basic income say it reduces poverty and inequality by providing a guaranteed income.
But Conservative deputy chairman Helen Whately said it would be “a kick in the teeth to hardworking taxpayers”.
“It would mean benefit payments for everyone, from Premier League footballers to investment bankers and even prisoners, costing billions, while hammering ordinary workers in the pocket by scrapping the tax-free income allowance.”
The Treasury also criticised the report, saying it was “committed to supporting working people keep more of what they earn, while providing a strong and sustainable safety net for those who need it”.
“Our policies are highly redistributive – this year the lowest income households will receive over £4 in public spending for every £1 they pay in tax, while the highest income households will contribute over £5 in tax for every £1 they receive in public spending,” it added.
What is a basic income?
Universal basic income, or UBI, means that everyone gets a set monthly income, regardless of means. Read more