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.
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.
I wholeheartedly welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to establish a fund to support local authorities as they develop their own basic income schemes. The Scottish Government will also task its Poverty and Inequality Commission with drawing together the experiences of these local schemes to inform Government thinking on a Basic Income . They will provide useful data for any country in the world that wishes to build on them.
The Basic Income pilot projects are vitally important to the debate. To design, run and monitor pilots and analyse the results takes a great deal of expertise and effort but they may have the potential to shine a light on any shortcomings – opportunities and ultimately produce solutions.
I believe a universal basic income is an idea whose time has come and very much look forward to attending the Congress and highlighting a Scottish Perspective for Introducing a Basic Income.