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"Citizen's income" idea to be explored by MSPs

20 January 2017

The feasibility of introducing a citizen’s income is to be investigated by MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee.

Under a citizen’s income, individuals are guaranteed a minimum regular payment unconditionally. The possibility of such a scheme is currently being investigated for Glasgow and Fife in Scotland and it has also been piloted internationally.

At the committee's meeting on 9 March, members will hear expert evidence and 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.

Committee convener Sandra White MSP commented: “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.”


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