January 27, 2016
Radical alternative comes to the fore
Welfare reform has been one of the hallmarks of Government policy since 2010 and Iain Duncan Smith, now unfettered by Coalition colleagues, seems more resolved than ever to finish the job. It is perhaps because these reforms are so extreme that debate is beginning to open up about the prospect of other approaches to welfare, equally radical but heading in a different direction. The idea of a Basic Income, payable to every citizen is one that’s gaining traction. A Scottish network organisation to advance the idea is about to launch.
Vision: a fairer, more just society, where every citizen receives a Citizen’s Basic Income.
The Mission of the Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland is ‘to advance research and public education about the economic and social effects and influences of Citizen’s Basic Income systems (defined here as schemes which guarantee an unconditional, non-withdrawable income payable to every individual as a right of citizenship)’.
A Citizen’s Basic Income (CBI) would provide every citizen with a universal, non-means-tested and unconditional basic income, replacing most of the current Social Security benefits and most of the current tax loopholes in the personal income tax system. Each feature of CBI can help to achieve several related objectives of welfare reform and wider social and economic policy, in the areas of:
• individual empowerment and choice;
• labour market efficiency;
• greater administrative simplicity;
• the creation of a fairer, more supportive and inclusive society;
• prevention of poverty, and
• a reduction in inequality of income.
The more generous the scheme, the greater will be the potential fulfillment of these objectives.
The role of Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland is to educate the general public, policy- and decision-makers about the desirability and feasibility of CBI schemes. Although the concept itself is relatively simple, implementation is fairly complex and technical. There is no single optimum CBI scheme. However, the better informed the public, the more likely they are to persuade decision-makers to establish a suitable CBI scheme for the benefit of society.
Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland will work to build awareness and support for CBI in Scotland, although full implementation would only be possible with devolution of full fiscal powers to the Scottish government.
We plan to launch Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland in the spring of 2016 with the publication of the new book on CBI by Annie Miller, which will be promoted through a media release and other public relations activity. Following its launch, the trustees of Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland will develop its profile, reach and impact through:
• tailored communication for different audiences, occasions and media, including talks at events, to build awareness and understanding of CBI around Scotland;
• building a network of supporters;
• informing relevant public policy.
The trustees of Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland will continue to fundraise to allow us to deliver our activities effectively. We plan to employ at least one member of staff once we have sufficient funds. The successful launch of Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland and delivery of our planned work will allow us to achieve our mission. Founders of Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland:
Maddy Halliday, Annie Miller, Jon Shaw, Willie Sullivan. December 2015.