Scotland Finance

Exploring Basic Income in Scotland


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Exploring Basic Income in Scotland is a cross-disciplinary project, funded by Scottish Universities Insight Institute, that looked at the implications of a Basic Income for a variety of intersecting issues. On Tuesday 2 April the report will be launched with a half day conference and evening event at Scottish Parliament. In this blog Cleo Goodman from Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland tells us more about the project and the Basic Income movement in the UK.

Basic Income is a radical social security reform that would see every citizen receiving an unconditional, regular income throughout their life regardless of circumstance. In 2017 Scottish Government announced that they would support the exploration of a Basic Income in Scotland, and in 2018 a feasibility study began looking at the practicalities of introducing a Basic Income in 4 local authority areas, Glasgow, Edinburgh, North Ayrshire and Fife.

The Exploring Basic Income in Scotland project was led by academics from the Heriot-Watt University, University of Edinburgh and Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland (CBINS). It united policy makers, practitioners and academics to look at the intersection of a Basic Income with employment and entrepreneurship, housing, care and human rights and equality. We also looked at the modelling, implementation and evaluation of a Basic Income hearing from the steering group leading the feasibility work and Dr Malcolm Torry who drew from his pioneering work with microsimulation, which uses software to model tax and benefits to generate information on a variety of areas including individual and household disposable incomes, numbers of households on different benefits, poverty and inequality indices.

The workshops were attended by 95 individuals, representing contributions from 42 different organisations and academic institutions, and we heard from 11 speakers all with expertise in a variety of areas and from a diverse range of backgrounds. We used the time to highlight the key potential benefits, concerns and questions that should be used to shape feasibility and experimental work on Basic Income here in Scotland and around the world.

We will be launching the Exploring Basic Income in Scotland report on Tuesday 2 April with a half day conference and evening event at Scottish Parliament in partnership with Scotland’s Futures Forum. Miska Simanainen from the Finnish social security agency Kela will share insights from the preliminary results of the Finnish Basic Income experiment. At the conference we will look at the understanding gained during the project and how we can apply and build upon this.

Working with CBINS has been eye-opening to the failings of the current system. I hear time and time again that Basic Income is a ray of hope for people who, at present, are barely supported by an inadequate, invasive and ineffective social security safety net. The growing interest in Basic Income shows no signs of slowing up, with grassroots groups like CBINS appearing all around the country. Last week we were at the conference Basic Income: How do we make it happen? organised by UBILab Sheffield, bringing together Basic Income groups and advocates from around the UK to discuss strategy and launching their proposal for a pilot in Sheffield.

CBINS plans to use the insights from this project as a basis for supporting organisations and institutions in understanding why Basic Income is relevant to them and the future of their work. We will continue to educate people on Basic Income through discussion and debate, to handover the tools needed to engage with the concept in its inherent simplicity and practical complexity. The final business case from the feasibility study will be presented in March 2020 so the next 12 months promise to be a busy period for those advocating for a Basic Income in Scotland.

If you would like to attend either of the Exploring Basic Income in Scotland launch events please register here: half day conference and evening event at Scottish Parliament.

Related LGiU Scotland content

Basic income: from a radical idea to a pilot in Scotland?

Why Basic Income Matters for Councillors

Basic Income – first steps in Scotland and where are we now?

LISTEN: 15 (ish) Minutes With… CBINS on Citizen’s Basic Income