The Cross Party Group in the Scottish Parliament on Basic Income had its first official meeting of the group on Wednesday 20th June in the Scottish Parliament.

Approval to establish the group was given by approval by the Scottish Parliament’s Standards Committee on 7th June.  The group will be co-chaired by Ivan McKee MSP and Alex Rowley MSP.  Secretariat for the group will be provided by the RSA and Citizens Basic Income Network Scotland.

At its first meeting the group heard from the following external speakers:

Session 1 – Charlie Young, RSA – exploring the work they have been doing on the typologies of experiments, insight into the different approaches which could be taken

Session 2 – Coryn Barclay, Fife Council – updating on progress with the work of the Steering Group exploring the feasibility of basic income in Scotland.

Initial Themes identified by the group to explore through meetings of the Cross Party Group on Basic Income include:

  • Health
  • Automation/Future of Work/Artificial Intelligence
  • Basic Income as a human rights policy/Relationship with Sustainable Development Goals
  • Scottish Pilots

A programme of dates for meetings of the Cross Party group has been set as follows:

  • (tbc) September 2018
  • 21 November 2018,
  • 13 February 2019,
  • 15 May (AGM) 2019

Note: The Cross Party Group on Basic Income is a Scottish Parliament working group. It is being established independently of the Steering Group for the Scottish Basic Income Pilots.  The Cross Party Group will run in parallel with any developing pilots in Scotland so that it can input advice and evidence to the development of the pilots.  The four local authorities involved in the Scottish Basic Income Pilots will not be organisational members of the Cross Party Group, but will receive copies of any correspondence relating to the Cross Party group, and may be called to present on progress with the Scottish Basic Income Pilots.

The Cross Party Group on Basic Income is a Scottish Parliament working group.  It is being established independently of the Steering Group for the Scottish Basic Income Pilots.  The Cross Party Group will run in parallel with any developing pilots in Scotland so that it can input advice and evidence to the development of the pilots.  The four local authorities involved in the Scottish Basic Income Pilots will not be organisational members of the Cross Party Group, but will receive copies of any correspondence relating to the Cross Party group, and may be called to present on progress with the Scottish Basic Income Pilots.

A Stakeholder Group has been established to act as a wider reference group for the activity of the Steering Group taking forward the feasibility work for the Scottish Basic Income Pilots.  This group will receive updates on the Citizen’s Basic Income feasibility project as it progresses, and provide stakeholder advice and engagement on business case development, and options for local pilots of basic income in Scotland.

As part of the governance arrangements for the Steering Group for the Scottish Basic Income Pilots, a group of senior councillors from across the four participating authorities has been established. The purpose of this group is to provide feedback on the progress of the Steering Group and give senior Local Authority input to the feasibility research work programme and the subsequent business case development.  The group will meet at least twice a year.

Several terms have been used to describe citizen’s basic income. This includes: citizen’s income, basic income, universal income, universal basic income. These terms are often used interchangeably, but also reflect, to an extent, variations in the underlying rationale for the policy.

Citizen’s basic income should not be confused with JRF’s ‘Minimum Income Standard’, which is a calculation of an income threshold. It is also not ‘Universal Credit’, which is a UK Government welfare benefit.

 

There are three main differences across the variations of citizen’s basic income policy:

  • Eligibility: Some models propose that all people resident within the country at all ages would receive the income at the same level (e.g. adults, children, migrants into the country, prisoners), while in others, the income is based on citizenship and/or age criteria (often being provided at a lower level for children).
  • Benefit replacement: In some variants, citizen’s basic income would replace all other social security payments (including the state pension, all disability payments and housing benefit), while in others, only some of these would be replaced.
  • Level of income: This is the biggest variation in the design of the policy. This concerns the level of income that would be distributed, the relationship to tax-free allowances (and whether or not that would be changed), if there would be associated changes in personal income tax and if the income would be taxable.

 

Basic income pilots, of varying shapes and forms, are currently at planning stages or underway in Finland, Netherlands, Canada, Barcelona, USA and Kenya. Research is required to determine the feasibility of such a concept within a Scottish context. As part of the feasibility work, the Scottish partners will continue to watch international experiments closely, as they develop, to identify what lessons can be learned.

Edinburgh, Fife, Glasgow, and North Ayrshire  had independently of each other begun to explore the feasibility of undertaking a local pilot of basic income.  The four local authorities are now working together to explore the feasibility of basic income in Scotland before making any decisions about proceeding to a pilot in their local area.

This website will be the primary source of information on work to explore the feasibility of local pilots of basic income in Scotland.  The website will be updated as the project develops.

The Scottish Basic Income Pilot is at an early stage and work is currently underway to explore the feasibility of such a pilot. Once a feasibility study has completed a decision will be taken whether to progress the pilots to an implementation stage, and in which areas. This would likely take the form of a two to three year pilot however this will be analysed as part of the pilot design stage.

The Scottish Basic Income Pilot is at an early stage and work is currently underway to explore the feasibility of such a pilot. Once a feasibility study has completed a decision will be taken whether to progress the pilots to an implementation stage. This would likely take the form of a two to three year pilot however this will be analysed as part of the pilot design stage. As part of the design stage partners will explore which aspects of basic income to test, this may result in a geographic or demographic focus in different local authorities.

The Scottish Basic Income Pilot is at an early stage and work is currently underway to explore the feasibility of such a pilot. Costs, benefits and savings will be explored as part of this stage. Once a feasibility study has completed a decision will be taken whether to progress the pilots to an implementation stage. This would likely take the form of a two to three year pilot however this will be analysed as part of the pilot design stage.

Local authorities under the Local Government in Scotland Act (2003), have powers to provide payments and benefits but neither Local Authorities nor Scottish Government have the powers to influence tax base or personal allowances.  While we may be able to experiment with some aspects of a basic income in Scotland, we know we cannot undertake a full pilot without the co-operation of DWP, HMRC and HM Treasury.