Scotland can lead the world with Universal Basic Income pilot

Scotland would grab the world’s attention by undertaking a three-year pilot of a Universal Basic Income, the Scottish Greens have said.

The results of a feasibility study in Scottish council areas has been published, with a recommendation that Scotland commits to a three-year pilot of the idea, which would provide a reliable, unconditional source of income for everyone.

This would be co-delivered by the Scottish and UK Governments alongside local authorities.

Responding, Scottish Greens social security spokesperson Alison Johnstone said: “This feasibility study shows that whatever the challenges to introducing a universal basic income in Scotland, set at an adequate rate, it would have a potentially hugely positive impact on health, wellbeing, poverty and inequality at a time when inequalities are being exposed by the current public health crisis.

“As the world looks for ways to build back better from this global crisis, Scotland is well placed to take a world-leading role in developing new radical approaches that provide a real safety net for the most vulnerable people in society.

“A Universal Basic Income is an idea which has entered the political mainstream, and I look forward to cross-party support for this proposed pilot. It’s an idea whose time has come.”

Scottish Green councillors were involved in the feasibility group in both Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Edinburgh Greens councillor Gavin Corbett said: “The foundations of Social Security have been under attack for a decade or more and the Coronavirus crisis has simply exposed how fragile many jobs and livelihoods really are. This has never been clearer in a city with as polarised wealth as Edinburgh. I look forward to this being progressed.”

Glasgow Greens councillor Allan Young said: “Glasgow has some of the worst outcomes in the UK, and despite best efforts it has been clear that successive governments have failed to shift that. That’s why it is the perfect place to lead the world in pioneering new ways of supporting citizens.”