On Saturday I will attend and participate in an event organised by Citizens Basic Income Network Scotland (CBINS) which will discuss the issue of introducing a basic income in Scotland. The event will take place on Kelty Community Centre.
A Basic Income (Citizen’s Income or Universal Grant) is an unconditional, non-withdrawable income for every individual as a right of citizenship. Similar to a. Child Benefit, it is for everyone, and is tax-exempt.
I’ve previously discussed the topic with representatives of Citizen’s Income Trust, RSA and Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland. I also led a Westminster Hall debate on Wednesday 14th September and recently raised the matter with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
If you had a blank sheet of paper and were asked to design a welfare system nobody, but nobody, would come up with the system that we have now.
We are spending 28% of our total public expenditure on social security, but it’s still not clear whether our welfare system is helping or hindering the most vulnerable people in our society.
A universal basic income is an idea which has been considered in various forms for over two hundred years. Luminaries such as Abraham Lincoln and Dr Martin Luther King have supported the concept as a way of helping alleviate poverty and providing society with a safety net.
Finland has become the first country in Europe to pay a limited number of unemployed citizens an unconditional monthly sum and a child benefit Other countries such as Canada, USA and the Netherlands are piloting schemes. I think it is vital that we assess its suitability for Scotland.
Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland website – https://cbin.scot
Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland (CBINS) event – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/basic-income-real-social-security-tickets-30078624977?aff=es2
Link to my parliamentary debate on Universal Basic Income – https://hansard.digiminster.com/Commons/2016-09-14/debates/1B16BDDC-5BB5-40AB-93E0-A78D0A39BF5B/UniversalBasicIncome