The feasibility of introducing a citizen’s income is to be investigated by MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee.
The concept of a citizen’s income works on the basis that individuals are guaranteed a minimum regular payment unconditionally. The possibility of a citizen’s income scheme is currently being investigated for Glasgow and Fife in Scotland and it has also been piloted internationally.
At a meeting of the Committee on 9 March, MSPs will hear from a number of experts including:
- Professor Donald Hirsch, Director, Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough University;
- Siobhan Mathers, Reform Scotland Advisory Board member;
- Annie Miller, Chair, Citizen’s Income Trust and member of Citizen’s Basic Income Network in Scotland;
- Howard Reed, Director, Landman Economics;
- Anthony Painter, Director of the Action and Research Centre, RSA.
During this meeting the Committee will look at a number of issues relating to the introduction of a universal basic income such as what level of basic income is sufficient, how it could be funded and whether it could work in Scotland based on the current devolved powers.
Sandra White MSP, Convener of the Social Security Committee said:
“We all know the current benefits system is riddled with complexity, and on the face of it the concept of a universal income for everyone is an interesting alternative. However whilst there is much talk at the moment of the benefits of a citizen's income, this Committee wants to investigate if the principle can work in practice. Whilst we all want a system that is fairer and looks after those most in need, it’s clear that the implementation of such a concept is far from straightforward.
“With the new social security powers now devolved to the Parliament, it is the role of this Committee to consider new social security policy for Scotland and that includes different ideas and approaches for how this might be delivered.”