Food Policy on Trial – in the dock: Universal Basic Income

Our Food Policy on Trial events explore selected emerging food policy ideas at inquiry-style sessions. Expert witnesses provide evidence and are then questioned by both a Food Ethics Council jury panel and members of the audience. They are designed primarily for policymakers and policy influencers, but are also open to interested members of the general public.

In our Food Policy on Trial events, those attending can make their own considered judgements of whether the policy idea ‘on trial’ is likely to contribute to or hinder progress towards healthy, fair, environmentally sustainable, humane food and farming. Previously we have critically explored first the idea of a meat tax and secondly the notion of introducing plain packaging on junk food.

For this, our first online Food Policy on Trial, we will consider the idea of a Universal Basic Income. While not a food policy, we feel it is important to explore whether mechanisms such as UBI have the potential to be important for food outcomes. Crucially, we’re not starting from the premise that UBI is necessarily a good thing. We want to critically explore its merits and pitfalls. We welcome your participation – to ask questions of the expert witnesses or just to listen – and encourage you to form your own judgement as to whether a form of Universal Basic Income has the potential to contribute to fair, sustainable food systems or not. Please register to join!

Our jury panel of members of the Food Ethics Council will be chaired by Julian Baggini (author, writer and philosopher). Our expert witnesses will include:

  • Niall Cooper, Director, Church Action on Poverty
  • Anna Coote, Principal Fellow, New Economics Foundation
  • Anthony Painter, Chief Research & Impact Officer, The RSA
  • Professor Valerie Tarasuk, Dep’t of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto

‘Food policy on trial’ sessions are run by the Food Ethics Council and are a way of encouraging constructive debate about possible policy ideas relating to food and farming. We plan to run two ‘food policy on trial’ sessions each year. This event is kindly supported by the Polden Puckham Charitable Foundation. With thanks also to Lindy Sharpe from Food Research Collaboration for her invaluable input in helping design this series.


10th June 2020
3:00 - 5:30 pm


Food Ethics Council
York Way

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