In today's Scottish Parliament debate on child poverty, Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, urged consideration of ideas including a basic income for all citizens.

Alison, a member of Holyrood's economy committee, highlighted a range of research including:

-A paper by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which says the single biggest risk to progress is benefit cuts and growing use of sanctions.
-Research by the Fawcett Society which says a fifth of British women’s income comes from benefits, while for men the figure is one-tenth; therefore the loss of benefits and services hits women hardest.
-The Jimmy Reid Foundation report ‘In Place of Anxiety’. The authors Willie Sullivan and the late Ailsa McKay focused on tackling the poverty wages that create in-work poverty.

Alison said:

"We live in a wealthy nation yet inequality is increasing, and the austerity agenda has a particular impact on women and children. Families struggling have not chosen to be in poverty, and are bearing the brunt of the UK cuts making the situation worse.

"One idea we would do well to explore is the citizen's or basic income. This would replace our incredibly complex welfare system and end the stigma that many people face.

"It’s essential we measure our economic success on how we close the gap between rich and poor and how we create a fairer society for children."