Fri 8 May, 2020

The success of trials of the Universal Basic Income scheme in Finland can pave the way for Scotland to implement the idea, the Scottish Greens have said.

A new evaluation of the Finnish trial has found the scheme, which gave randomly selected unemployed people a regular monthly income, had a positive rather than a negative impact on employment.

It also boosted recipients’ mental and financial well-being.

Finland’s scheme ran from 2017-2018 and paid 2,000 randomly selected unemployed people a regular monthly income of €560 (£490), with no obligation to seek a job.

Survey respondents who received a basic income were more satisfied with their lives and experienced less mental strain, depression and loneliness.

Basic income recipients also trusted other people and social institutions to a larger extent, and were more confident in their own future.

Scottish Greens have long called for the introduction of a UBI in Scotland, and Green Councillors have been involved in the 2-year Scottish Government-funded study conducted by Glasgow, Edinburgh, North Ayrshire and Fife Councils. The Scottish study will issue its final report in June.

Scottish Green social security spokesperson Alison Johnstone said:

“The crisis we are facing has revealed the UK’s safety net is full of holes, and shows that now, more than ever, we need a Universal Basic Income to provide a reliable, unconditional source of income for everyone.

“This week’s evidence from Finland is a huge boost for UBI in Scotland, with recipients reporting improved mental health and financial security, among other benefits. What’s more, it has disproved the theory that a UBI would be a disincentive for work

“It is more evidence, if more were needed, that Scotland needs to urgently work to introduce a Universal Basic Income for all.”

Scottish Greens have led calls for a UBI in Scotland, and on Friday co-leader Patrick Harvie chaired a Scottish Greens Live discussion with Basic Income UK on the role a universal basic income could play in building Scotland's new post-Covid economy.

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