Support for Universal Basic Income

Over 500 representatives from across the UK, including SNP politicians, have signed a letter to Rishi Sunak calling on him to support trials of Universal Basic Income (UBI) in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as a response to the ongoing economic shocks caused by coronavirus.
The SNP has led the call for the UK government to introduce a basic income pilot in Scotland to ensure a strong and fair economic and social recovery. Earlier this month SNP MP Ronnie Cowan led a Westminster Hall debate on the introduction of a Universal Basic Income – saying it is indefensible for the Tories to obstruct this potential solution to poverty after imposing a decade of brutal austerity policies.

The Scottish Government provided £250,000 to support the undertaking of a feasibility study for a UBI pilot in Scotland, which reported earlier this year and urged UK ministers to engage with them on this issue, given welfare and tax powers remain at Westminster. The UK government has so far refused. The Senedd Cymru has also passed a motion calling for a Universal Basic Income Trial in Wales.

A Universal Basic Income is a platform for growth and a safety net in times of trouble and worth investigating through pilots now – we can’t wait for the next crisis to nudge us closer to the inevitable.

Pilot projects around the world have shown us the benefits to individuals and communities that a Basic Income provides. In a world of increasing instability it would be wrong to put a price on security and improved mental health.

Citizens Advice Scotland – ‘Redundancy Rights’ campaign

Today Citizens Advice Scotland launches our ‘Redundancy Rights’ campaign.

This campaign is in response to significant increases over the last six months in the number of people turning to the Citizens Advice network in Scotland for support with their employment and redundancy rights.

A poll conducted for us published today has also found: 84% of people are unsure about their redundancy rights Broken down, 55% knew nothing or not very much about their rights and a further 29% only knowing a little In addition, 39% of people in work or on furlough are worried about the security of their job over the next 12 months With the furlough scheme winding down while many restrictions continue, we expect the number of people turning to the Citizens Advice network for redundancy advice to continue to increase.

UK Govt must u-turn on end to Furlough Scheme

The UK Job Retention Scheme saw the UK Treasury pay 80% of wages to workers at the height of lockdown in March, but the UK government has tapered away support and now threatens the end of the scheme on the arbitrary date at the end of October – despite tightening restrictions across the UK.

The UK Government’s callous approach to employment support has been widely criticised with the STUC grouping of trade unions – warning the premature ending of the scheme threatens 200,000 jobs in Scotland alone.

The UK Government is ready to pull the rug from under millions across the UK with plans to prematurely end the furlough scheme. This has been a lifeline to workers across Inverclyde since March and the decision to end it must be reconsidered immediately.

Meanwhile, millions of freelancers and self-employed workers have been left without a single penny from the UK government’s coffers. These forgotten workers have paid their taxes like everyone else, but are now at breaking point after raiding their own savings and being forced to take out loans just to keep afloat.  Only last week, I received a response letter from the HM Treasury regarding self-employed workers in Inverclyde who feel they’ve been forgotten.

Other countries are extending their furlough schemes but without the necessary powers Scotland cannot do likewise. The shambolic handling of the economic crisis accompanying the coronavirus pandemic proves exactly why Scotland needs full economic powers to take decisions in our best interest and support workers at a time of national crisis.

Greenock Telegraph 23rd October 2020

Recently, I was talking to primary kids about the internet and in particular internet behaviour and safety. And it struck me that these wide eyed, innocent kids, full of hope and expectations, technologically savvy and comfortably embracing the great internet of things, would some-day be nostalgic about TikTok!

And it got me thinking about the iconic things of my childhood and why they are still precious to me. And I don’t mean the few family photos of me, my mum, my dad and siblings that I have. Or the leather cuff link box that was my dad’s that I hold and draw comfort from because I know his hands held it too. I mean the shared iconography of the society of my childhood. Like the orange jubbly ice block, the chopper bike, Sportsnight with Coleman (remember the theme tune?), Subbuteo (which was always played on the floor in my house despite being table top football) and vinyl records. When we are young we live life with the expectation that the way things are, is how they will always be. And the younger we are the more true that is. But as we grow older we start to look to the future and in the 1960s we were told that in the future we would have bigger but slimmer TVs, and that we could be in instant contact with each other regardless of where we are in the World. And while those predictions along with home computers, e-banking, e-mails and many others came true, I never did get my jet pack!

Now I can buy multi packs of Cornettos, my bicycle corners far better than a chopper ever did, I can access sport all day, every day, Fifa 2021 is undoubtedly easier on my knees and I can access and listen to music on the go. But are the new things better? Yes of course they are but they don’t resonate with me because I now know they are transient. And if that applies to the good things then it is true to say it must also apply to the bad. Today’s bad will be history’s Sinclair C5. Uncomfortable and expensive but transient and hopefully, to be learned from.

When we come out of Covid, don’t let go of the lessons we have learned about the values of community, family, good mental health, access to open spaces and freedom to travel. Don’t confine them to the memory box. They should define our aspirations for the future and if that could include a jet pack I would be for ever grateful.

Scot Govt – Restrictions Fund (Inverclyde application process)

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) Restrictions Fund provides one-off grants to businesses very directly impacted by Covid-19 brake restrictions implemented on 9 October 2020.  The fund is open for applications from 9am on 20th October 2020. 

Business Closure Fund

The Business Closure Fund is available to hospitality and other businesses required to close by restriction regulations.

It operates as a two-tiered scheme, with a smaller grant of £2,000 for businesses with a Rateable Value (RV) of up to and including £51,000 and a larger grant of £3,000 for those businesses with a RV £51,001 and above.  An upper limit of £15,000 in total will apply to any eligible business operating multiple premises.

Business Hardship Fund

Applications are invited for a business hardship fund – with payments of £1,000 or £1500, dependent on Rateable Value to support some businesses that remain open but are still significantly impacted by the restrictions.  An upper limit of £10,000 will apply in total to any eligible business operating multiple premises.  The qualifying criteria is very specific. The fund is for:

  • hospitality businesses and gyms, required by these new regulations to operate in a restricted way
  • producers/wholesale businesses supplying primarily perishable, short-life goods or produce to hospitality businesses required by the regulations to close or operate in a restricted way and able to evidence a minimum 25% reduction in turnover during the brake period

Other qualifying criteria:

Your businesses must have been open and trading before 9th October 2020.

You must have a business bank account. This is the account your grant will be paid into if your application is successful.

Your business premises must be registered for Non-Domestic rates. Businesses that pay rates through their landlords rather than directly to a Council are eligible to apply (evidence to be provided through a copy of your lease agreement). 

Businesses which have breached wider COVID regulations/requirements prior to local restrictions are not eligible. 

Retail and businesses that provide takeaway food as the core and established basis of their operations are not eligible for these closure or hardship funds.

How to apply

Application forms will be found within the Documents section of this page. 

Select the Business Closure Fund form if covid-19 brake restriction regulations have required your business to close. 

If your business remains open but is still significantly impacted by the restrictions, including some gyms and those in the direct supply chains of firms that must close, select the Business Hardship Fund form.

Completed applications must be returned by email to: with supporting documents as directed on the application form. 

Inverclyde Council will prioritise processing of applications with a view to making as many decisions as possible within the brake period while restrictions are in place.  The assessment of incomplete application forms and applications made without supporting documentation will be delayed.  Payment will be made within 3 working days of notifying you of the decision. 

How to Appeal

Information about the appeal process will be available in due course.

Applications received after 5pm on Tuesday 3rd November 2020 will not be considered.