In September 2017, the Scottish Government announced in its Programme for Government that it would support local authority areas to explore a Citizens’ Basic Income (CBI) Scheme by establishing a fund to help areas to develop their proposals further and establish suitable testing. The fund of £250,000 was received by four local authorities – Fife Council, City of Edinburgh Council, Glasgow City Council and North Ayrshire Council – who have been working together to research and explore the feasibility of local pilots of CBI in Scotland.
The feasibility project builds on earlier work undertaken by local authorities who were exploring the possible contribution of a CBI in reducing poverty and tackling inequalities. The work has been undertaken in collaboration across the four local authorities, Public Health Scotland, supported by Scottish Government and the Improvement Service. Representatives from each of the collaborating organisations were brought together to form the Citizens’ Basic Income Feasibility Study Steering Group.
The group has been asked to consider the role of a CBI in reducing poverty by exploring the feasibility of conducting local pilots in Scotland. Specifically, this included details of the ethical, legislative, financial and practical implementation of conducting a pilot as well as its potential costs, benefits and savings. They did this by gathering and synthesising CBI evidence across published research, engaging with relevant organisations, learning from contemporary pilots, community engagement and survey data, as well as commissioning new research to address evidence gaps. The Interim Feasibility Report was published in November 2019 and can be accessed here.
The Final Feasibility Report is currently being prepared by the Steering Group to communicate the findings of the project. It was planned that this report would enter a process of Local Authority engagement and approval over April and May, with a formal launch event and publication in June 2020. The importance of the feasibility work remains high, particularly in light of recent public and political engagement on CBI. It is the intention of the Steering Group to publish the work as close to the original timescales as possible, however due to issues arising from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the final stages of report completion and Local Authority approval have been unavoidably delayed. Discussions are taking place across partners to complete the work and agree a process for Local Authority approval. While these discussions are underway it is therefore not possible to specify a date when the report will be available to the public. The Steering Group is aware there is much interest in the report and a further update will be provided as soon as possible.