Openly debate Universal Basic Income

While as yet the Scottish Government do not have the powers to introduce a UBI, i feel their should be a push to have a more open and a deeper discussion around this, This action would benefit so many people, especaily those in the lower end of income and the more vulnerable in society. The introduction of a UBI would go some way to help lift many out of poverty, many of whom are in work. In turn it would reduce the need for some foodbanks.

Why the contribution is important

Too many people in Scotland even prior to the Pandemic are stuck in the trap of poverty, this includes many who are actually in work. Foodbank use has increased massively and is set to increase even further as restrictions are slowly lifted. A Universal Basic Income would allow people to be lifted out of the current trap they are in. I know a number of people would rail against this initially because in a number of cases it goes against their own political stance or arguments surrounding costs etc may be restrictive. It could be argued that many of the current benefits paid out would not be required so this in itself would offset the bulk of these costs. It may well be more cost effective than the current DWP systems. This of course would need much more investigation. One added benefit to this would be people would have more spending power so in turn this money would go back into the economy. I realise much planning and investigation would be needed but i feel it is well worth serious investigation instead of an outright dismissal without even looking at all the drawbacks against the benefits.

by Tomscore on May 06, 2020 at 10:16AM

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Average rating: 4.5
Based on: 80 votes


  • Posted by lcraik May 06, 2020 at 10:29

    This is in use in forward thinking countries and would be of great benefit especially in these times
  • Posted by Jane May 06, 2020 at 10:35

    Agree the analysis should be done and options presented . If we are serious about having a more equal and fair society then this is essential.
  • Posted by TonyFinn May 06, 2020 at 10:37

    Universal means all I take it no means testing or eligibility criteria
  • Posted by irco May 06, 2020 at 10:57

    This is an excellent idea providing that it is done properly and sustainably. There is no reason that this could not be investigated in parallel with the current emergency. It would of course require a complete restructuring of the income tax system to ensure that it is cost neutral and would enable the abolition of the majority of welfare benefits as all requirements would be covered by UBI. However there is no reason, under the existing tax powers of the Scottish Government, why measures to increase the tax revenue can't be taken now e.g an emergency budget to apply a higher tax band of say over £60,000 pays 60% tax. This would help mitigate the impact and costs to the Scottish Government.
  • Posted by RogueCoder May 06, 2020 at 11:09

    UBI to tackle the economic effects of COVID19 would be most welcome, and longer term would mitigate the societal effects of increased automation and AI across multiple employment sectors. Poverty is the number one cause of poor health in Scotland, and removing the stress of money worries would undoubtedly have a positive effect on both our overall health, and our NHS.
  • Posted by Kimbostar May 06, 2020 at 11:09

    Good idea. While we have no power over certain benefits it's important that we continue to help those around us. UBI would be designed to that.
  • Posted by DaveC May 06, 2020 at 11:10

    I support UBI being pursued
  • Posted by ritchiemc May 06, 2020 at 11:13

    I think this is really sensible and I believe it is also affordable. Basic income should be a fundamental right to survive in what is a monetary based society. It won't eradicate poverty but it may substantially improve the lives of those who are most at need.
  • Posted by Soupygecko May 06, 2020 at 11:17

    UBI would have been ideal during this crisis. Instead of billions being made available to banks and businesses it would be going straight to citizens. Citizens would have a means of income thus removing the burden of this responsibility from their employers and in turn removing the burden of the state to support the businesses. Everyone's entitled to exactly the same no matter their situation so there can be no question of fairness. There is a saving on means testing and time spent on legislation for whos eligible for what. Outside of the crisis setting it opens up all sorts of avenues for work life balance for families who are forced to work every hour going to make ends meet
  • Posted by karinray May 06, 2020 at 11:18

    I think this is vital , and can be done now to prepare the ground for future implementation - I know the FM indicated conversations with UK govt would happen after this crisis, but now seems as good a time as any ! Many have fallen through the net in terms of income - this should be pursued as a matter of urgency, not only to assist those who are struggling by on zero income right now, but also to help boost the economy longer term. more disposable income = more spending = quicker economic recovery .
  • Posted by ElBee May 06, 2020 at 11:19

    As our FM recently stated, she is in favour of UBI and would like a stronger focus and discussion on the subject with UK Govt. In an independent Scotland, our FM believes we would have some form of UBI, likely to initially be £2,400 per adult, per year, and around £1,000 - £1,500 to each child.
  • Posted by Ginakeenan May 06, 2020 at 11:25

    We must help people who are especially low paid
  • Posted by picture1 May 06, 2020 at 11:40

    We need some version of this. Scrap the bureaucracy, incompetence & inflexibility of the benefits system and allow people to make choices about their lives. People who have money spend that money & help the economy. Offer an opt out for people who feel they do not need it.
  • Posted by Amanda83 May 06, 2020 at 12:19

    I would also like this idea to be pursued.
  • Posted by NanaLaura May 06, 2020 at 12:22

    I firmly believe that the introduction of UBI would help increase resilience and be a valuable step towards a fairer and more inclusive society
  • Posted by Dave May 06, 2020 at 12:25

    While I agree that during this crisis, some sort of Universal Income would be useful, in a more normal time where everyone is unrestricted it is currently un-doable without massive social and political changes. The Scottish Government previously commissioned a report into Universal Income - At that time, it was stated that income TAX for EVERYONE would have to be over 50%. No doubt all taxes would have to be increased in order to make it sustainable. There was also the problem of people who previously were employed no longer working as their basic income covered all their living costs and therefore contributing very little to the system.
  • Posted by a May 06, 2020 at 13:53

    UBI is a great idea, mainly due to removing the need for the sick, disabled and mentally ill to have to face the assessments for ESA and PIP, and to be further bullied and stigmatized by the benefits system. I am mentally ill and currently am expected to live on about £6000 a year. If i did not live with my Mother, I could not afford to live anywhere. This money would not cover rent, electricity, council tax, travel expenses or food if I did not live here. UBI would lift me out of that, I could begin to have an actual life, despite not being able to work due to my mental illness. Now is the time for UBI, to help everyone, to improve the quality of all our lives.
  • Posted by Cam60 May 06, 2020 at 15:12

    UBI should be fully investigated and viewed as a replacement for a number of welfare payments and also to replace the old age pension. As UBI would be universal then everyone will have a minimum living income. Income tax would be applied to an individual’s total income from all sources including wage, share dividends, bonus payments, redundancy payments, investment interest, etc. At the same time we should review the tax system and have one tax based on all income from any source worldwide.
  • Posted by Thistle May 06, 2020 at 20:56

    definitely feels like the time for a Universal Basic Income system. We need a total rethink about what we want to achieve as a nation. We have clear evidence that inequality kills and the amount of in work poverty is a disgrace.
  • Posted by Susan May 06, 2020 at 22:11

    Needs studying as a permanent payment, but would also be very useful as a tempory measure if people return to work & then we get a second wave of infections, and a second lockdown.
  • Posted by DM May 07, 2020 at 11:25

    The Citizens Basic Income Network (CBIN) for Scotland has been working towards the goal of implementing a Universal Basic Income (UBI) in Scotland. They propose a basic living income for each and every individual in a society, regardless of a person’s economic/social background. This is quite a radical change from the current situation in most countries, where multiple complex needs-tested benefit systems are in place. The idea of providing each member of a country with a basic income is growing in popularity and many countries across the world are debating the issues surrounding implementation of such an idea. I am a firm believer in the critical need for an unconditional UBI. With the ever increasing pressures of overpopulation and the growing concerns of providing sufficient and decent jobs for people, particularly in the face of advancing technology, the UBI initiative could offer a promising and socially ethical solution. Living in one of the more deprived areas of Edinburgh, the consequences of economic and social inequality are plain to see and have a huge impact on individuals and society as a whole. One of the most striking, and I believe avoidable, aspects of poverty is the lack of hope and ambition in those affected by it. When people are deprived of basic economic stability, little attention can be afforded to future prospects. Not only does this type of stress and despondence lead to myriad health issues in individuals, but it is also detrimental to the functioning of societies in general. The receipt of a basic living income would have a life-changing effect on millions of individuals, with consequent benefits to the country as a whole. If people have a basic sense of stability, they are much more likely to pursue the types of work that truly interest them. The impact on the voluntary sector would be significant as more people would have the opportunity to volunteer (for example by combining some part-time work with volunteering activities) and this is particularly important when the need for carers is as great as it is. I strongly believe that Scotland has the capabilities, and the social foundation, to pioneer a radical new system with social equality and justice as central driving forces. It’s very unlikely that the current pandemic will be the last such issue we face as a country and having a UBI system in place would help to mitigate some of the issues these challenges present and put Scotland in a much stronger position for the future.
  • Posted by zip May 07, 2020 at 12:33

    UBI must be coupled with rent controls, or it all goes to landlords. Ideally rent would be capped at enough to cover costs, nothing more. If the landlord objects it’s their only income — well, with UBI, no it isn’t!
  • Posted by Julie May 07, 2020 at 13:16

    Introducing UBI has many potential benefits one of which might be to remove some competition from the jobs market. The unemployment rate looks likely to more than double in the short term so there will not be jobs available for all. Something other than the current benefits system needs to be put in place to acknowledge the fact that some people will never work again due to lack of opportunity in the next few years.
  • Posted by nanna62 May 07, 2020 at 15:22

    I think this is a brilliant idea. As someone who worked for the Benefit System for 30 years I know how unnecesarily complicated and confusing it is. UBI would benefit everyone
  • Posted by Strathearn May 07, 2020 at 18:39

    I think UBI is the way forward for our society. COVID-19 has highlighted the inequalities in society and the crazy way that peoples' contribution is valued (with those most essential being paid the least). I believe Scotland and other countries would blossom with the introduction of UBI to level society. Yes, it should be universal with no 'means test' – which makes it very simple to implement. It should also be at a high enough level to avoid people being homeless, having to use foodbanks etc. Those that have higher incomes would pay it back through their taxes.
  • Posted by jacq9396 May 07, 2020 at 21:12

    There are some barriers to be overcome concerning UBI, such as the difference in renting in different parts of Scotland and protecting citizens from private landlords, who would simply raise their rents to the level of the UBI, effectively removing the benefit. Rent control is one way to combat these problems. That said, if Scotland had had a tiny amount of UBI , say £10/month/adult, before this pandemic hit, the government could have raised it's value temporarily to support everyone. Instead some friends with small businesses and low incomes are caught in poverty traps caused by slipping through the net and are unable to access financial support at present. So, yes, the Scottish government should move as quickly as possible to implementing a small UBI, which will future-proof us, for the next challenge. I understand that employment law is not devolved, but we do have the power to introduce new benefits, which may circumvent this barrier.
  • Posted by happyjolucky May 08, 2020 at 21:35

    Would love to see this discussed in Holyrood. I think it's vital.
  • Posted by DebbieH May 09, 2020 at 15:16

    It is a great idea and should be openly discussed more. There are plenty of current affairs programmes and a debate about this would be really useful.
  • Posted by Elkie May 09, 2020 at 15:43

    Yes, like someone above mentioned, there might be a way for Scotland to introduce not a basic income, but a basic benefit, or call it a gift in recognition for sticking to the restrictions, or call it what it really is: an investment.
  • Posted by Izzywizz May 10, 2020 at 17:34

    Progress should be evidence based but I would really like to see this investigated.
  • Posted by matthew123 May 10, 2020 at 20:23

    This should certainly be investigated. I would like to see Scotland take a lead on this.
  • Posted by KneelG42 May 11, 2020 at 18:11

    Very supportive of universal basic income but think it needs to be as part of wider reforms including Universal maximum income or higher rates of income tax - 90% of income over £250/500k Universal basic services ie free broadband, free public transport Corporate tax evasion and avoidance Business salary ratios - highest earners shouldn't earn more than 10 x lowest earners in a business
  • Posted by rptcal May 11, 2020 at 18:23

    It's definitely worth looking at some kind of universal basic income.
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