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Exploring the feasibility of a Citizens’ Basic Income Pilot in Scotland

Citizens’ Basic Income (CBI) – sometimes called universal basic income – is a bold and radical policy idea which has seen a rapid increase in public interest not only Scotland and the UK, but worldwide, as a potential solution to reducing poverty. Levels of poverty and inequality are stubbornly high in some of our communities and we must consider innovative solutions if we want to create a fairer society and economy centred on wellbeing.

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Webinar Soft Launch of Final Report on Feasibility Project 25 August 2020

Final Report on the feasibility of Scottish Citizens’ Basic Income pilots
Tuesday 25 August, 10.00-11.00am

In June this year partners involved in exploring the feasibility of a Citizens’ Basic Income (CBI) pilot in Scotland published a final report and submitted findings from their research to the Scottish Government. The report concludes a CBI pilot is desirable, but recognises the significant challenges involved.

This webinar offers an opportunity to learn more about the feasibility study findings and the recommendations arising from the research.

The webinar will include a chance to hear from steering group members responsible for the research (which include four local authorities – North Ayrshire, City of Edinburgh, Fife, and Glasgow – Public Health Scotland, supported by the Improvement Service, and the Scottish Government), as well as from the authors of additional research reports commissioned as a part of the study.

We are delighted that Sarah Davidson; Chief Executive of Carnegie UK Trust has agreed to Chair the webinar. The outline agenda includes:

• Final Report and recommendations –Wendy Hearty, Mhairi Paterson, and Neil Craig, Scottish Citizen’s Basic Income Pilot Feasibility Project Steering Group
• Exploring the Social Security Implications of a Citizen’s Basic Income Pilot – Judith Paterson, Child Poverty Action Group
• Modelling the Economic Impact of a Citizen’s Basic Income in Scotland – Graeme Roy, Fraser of Allander Institute, Strathclyde University
• Question and Answer session

To register for the webinar visit the GoToWebinar (link) where you will also have an opportunity to enter a question for the Q&A session.

For those unable to join on the day, a link to a recording of the webinar will be posted on this site.

We hope you will join us on the 25 August.

Gerry McCartney

Gerry McCartney
Steering Group Chair
Head of Public Health Observatory Division
Public Health Scotland

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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 ÂŁ250,000 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 ÂŁ250,000 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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