A real investment in creative young people

With a Green Mayor, a new Creative Autonomy Allowance will help widen opportunities and support for young people in London.

Young people are paying the price of so many things – the legacy of austerity, the current coronavirus crisis, the climate catastrophe which looms on the horizon. They deserve to be given something back.

Our plan for a £33 million pilot of this bold new idea will see 1,000 young people receive a regular basic income for three years. We’ll invest directly in expanding their choices in live, and gather evidence on how it helps to overcome barriers in creative and arts careers, and starting up in business.

The allowance of around £10,000 a year will be paid monthly and would not be subject to any conditionality after participants have been brought onto the scheme. 

The young people included would be selected to create a legitimate trial that demonstrates the benefits of the idea – seeing the impact on inequality, and on increasing life chances and opportunities. It would aim to help prove the case for basic income schemes to be backed by Government.

The Creative Autonomy Allowance has some similarity with the “Enterprise Allowance” piloted by the UK Government in 1982 and brought in at a national scale in 1983. One (possibly unintended) consequence of this was that a whole range of working class and non-privileged people who were young in the 1980s were able to support themselves as they strived for creative and freelance careers. 

That scheme provided around 325,000 people with £40 a week and has since been recognised by a range of successful artists, musicians and entrepreneurs as enabling them to successfully pursue their work.

In 2019-20, unemployment was higher in London across all age groups than the rest of England, and was at 16 percent among 16-24 year olds – making them the group with the highest unemployment rate. The pandemic has had a further impact on youth unemployment, increasing by 3.1 percent nationally during 2020.

I believe that this policy could be groundbreaking – directly supporting the life chances of young people affected by the economic impacts of the legacy of austerity, and the coronavirus crisis, and helping to change national policy too.

Greens have a mission to transform London’s economy, and young people must be at the heart of it. Young people have the ideas, they have the potential, they have the ability – they just need the support to get on and do it.