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UPDATE – Timescales for the publication of the final CBI Feasibility Report

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.

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Latest report on basic income feasibility published

Partners involved in exploring the feasibility of citizens basic income (CBI) pilots in Scotland have published an interim report into their findings.

Fife, North Ayrshire, City of Edinburgh and Glasgow City Councils are working together with NHS Health Scotland and the Improvement Service to explore the feasibility of a Scottish CBI pilot.

As well as the resources provided by these partners, the Scottish Government has provided £250,000 over two years to support the feasibility work in Scotland. The aim of a pilot would be to test the contribution of CBI to reducing poverty and providing a possible route to a fairer and simpler welfare system.

The interim report provides an overview of the work done so far and is being presented to the Scottish Government for their feedback on progress and next steps. It will also be discussed at a meeting of the Basic Income Scotland Steering Group with stakeholders from across public and voluntary sectors.

Project Manager Wendy Hearty explained: “Although there are many different models of citizen’s basic income schemes, it aims to create a fairer and simpler welfare system, providing people with a basic income they can use whether they want to earn, learn, care, or set up a business.

“The Steering Group has been looking at the feasibility of a CBI pilot in terms of how these would work financially, ethically, politically and how they could be evaluated. A number of pilot models are outlined in the report which also provides gross estimates of costs for certain pilot models. These estimates do not yet factor benefits and potential savings so are very preliminary and subject to change.

“The group do not want to propose models of CBI for piloting that will lead to direct financial detriment for participants. The challenge is that the current social security system is designed to identify financial need and pay people accordingly, while a CBI is designed to be universal. To achieve a balance, certain benefits would need to be continued alongside a CBI.”

The Group will deliver a final report to the Scottish Government in March next year which will contain recommendations about whether and under what circumstances a CBI pilot is feasible, how it could be undertaken, what it would be able to consider, and its likely cost.

Wendy continued: “It is important to stress that this is an interim report and that no firm recommendations are being made at this stage. However, this interim report represents substantial progress in our work to consider how CBI might contribute to reducing poverty and improving the lives of the population.

“Piloting a CBI will need the full co-operation of a range of institutions including the Scottish Government, the DWP and HMRC. We’ll continue to work with these organisations to see what would be possible including considering the legal and institutional barriers that would need to be overcome to pilot CBI.

“We are looking forward to feedback from the Scottish Government and others on the work we’ve done so far. We are now working hard to deliver a final feasibility report with fewer uncertainties and clear recommendations on appropriate next steps.”

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We need to explore bold and innovative policies if we are to #ChallengePoverty. Could a Citizen’s Basic Income be one of them?

Today is the start of #ChallengePovertyWeek which aims to draw attention to the injustice of poverty and showcase potential solutions.

It is estimated that 20% of people in Scotland are living in poverty (Scottish Government, 2019).  Poverty has substantial and lasting impacts on people’s health, wellbeing, access to opportunities and ability to participate in society. Worryingly, 240,000 children in Scotland live in poverty, of which 65% are from working households (Scottish Government, 2019). We need to explore bold and innovative policies if we are to tackle poverty. Could a citizen’s basic income (CBI) be one of them?

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Scottish Citizens Basic Income Feasibility Study – Project Update Report

In September 2017, the Scottish Government announced in its Programme for Government that it would support local authority areas to explore a Citizen’s 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. This funding complemented resources already committed by local authorities.

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Exploring the Practicalities of a Basic Income Pilot – A report by the Scottish Citizen’s Basic Income Steering Group

There is a sense in many developed countries around the world that our social security systems – complex, under pressure, and subject to widespread public suspicion – are no longer fit for purpose. The Scottish Citizen’s Basic Income Steering Group were commissioned by Carnegie UK Trust to produce an international learning report drawing on insights from around the globe to explore the practicalities that we will need to consider in Scotland in designing a basic income pilot.  Learn more about the Scottish Citizen’s Basic Income Feasibility Study here.

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