Scotland could trial giving each citizen a universal basic income – The Independent

Extract from an article by Lucy Pasha-Robinson

Development of radical scheme, which would see welfare benefits including child and tax credits replaced with universal flat-rate payment, due to be tested in Fife

 Scotland could roll out a universal basic income pilot after a trial won huge backing from anti-poverty campaigners.

Development of the scheme, due to be tested in Fife, will be discussed on Friday by councillors, civil servants and members of the Scottish Basic Income Network, and would see welfare benefits including child and tax credits replaced with a universal flat-rate payment.

Any income earned above the payment is then taxed with a single flat rate or progressively.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Scotland to look at something quite radical and put the country at the forefront of work in a policy which is getting growing levels of support across Europe,” Jamie Cooke, head of the Royal Society of Arts Scotland, which has carried out research on the scheme, told The National.

He said there had been a number of ongoing discussions between the Scottish Basic Income Network and Fife Council with a view to implement the trial.

A pilot is currently running in Holland, while Finland is to launch one next year, and officials involved are now said to be looking into Scotland as the next place to test the new approach.

“We want to draw up a plan we can give to councillors about how we see the pilot going and why we want to do it in Fife,” said Paul Vaughan, head of community and corporate development at Fife Council.

“We will use Friday’s meeting as a stepping stone to discuss seeking co-operation with the UK and Scottish Governments and the various departments that would need to be involved.

“The view of the Scottish Government is that they have some of the authority, but not all of it, to push the pilot forward.”..(continues)

SOURCE: Lucy Pasha-Robinson, “Scotland could trial giving each citizen a universal basic income”, The Independent, 24 Nov 2016

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