Fife to open investigation into citizen’s income as MP attends launch event

Nathanael Williams

Locals, councillors, business and MPs to attend event on universal basic income implementation in Fife

THE CITIZEN’S BASIC INCOME NETWORK (CBIN) in Scotland will hold an event to investigate the feasibility of a citizen’s income for local politics in Fife.

It will be attended by SNP MP Ronnie Cowan, Paul Vaughn who is head of community and corporate development on Fife Council and Karl Widerquist who is an associate professor at Georgetown University in the US.

The event will take place on Saturday 28th January at Kelty community centre will look at the prospects for setting up a pilot scheme in the local areas and debate the pros and cons for Fife.

Basic Income: real social security 

Ben Simmons, trustee and board member of CBIN Scotland, added: “We are delighted to have representation from a number of political parties united behind realising the benefit of a citizen’s income for a range of individuals across Fife.

“Driven by a common desire to improve the quality of life not just for the poorest but for all of us in society this appetite for progressive welfare reform brings out the best in our political system through cross-party cooperation.

“The crucial next step is raising awareness amongst the general public of the transformational change to their lives and life chances a basic income would bring about.

“CBIN Scotland is committed to tackling this challenge, and events like the forthcoming Fife discussion play an essential part.”

Holyrood to look at Universal Basic Income as calls rise to emulate Finland

A citizen’s income is a tax-exempt income done without means testing and given to every individual as a right of citizenship. It is also known as a universal basic income.

Last week, the Scottish Greens hailed the confirmation by the social security committee in Holyrood that it would conduct official research into introducing a basic income in Scotland. It comes after Finland’s executive began trialling a version of the citizens’ income this year which will run until next spring. 

Cowan who has raised the question of a citizen’s income in a parliamentary debate last September said: “If you had a blank sheet of paper and were asked to design a welfare system nobody, but nobody, would come up with the system that we have now.

“We are spending 28 per cent of our total public expenditure on social security, but it’s still not clear whether our welfare system is helping or hindering the most vulnerable people in our society.

“A universal basic income is an idea which has been considered in various forms for over two hundred years. Luminaries such as Abraham Lincoln and Dr Martin Luther King have supported the concept as a way of helping alleviate poverty and providing society with a safety net.”

Picture courtesy of Eric Gould

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