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UK could trial 'universal basic income' project.

Byline: DAVID BENTLEY and LIAM THORP ECHO Correspondents liam.thorp@trinitymirror.com @LIAMTHORPECHO

THE UK is thought to be "on the brink" of testing out a new Universal Basic Income for everyone, which could replace benefits including the highly controversial Universal Credit.

Campaigners believe the plan - where everyone would be paid a basic wage - could end poverty altogether.

Following trials in other countries like Canada and Finland, four Scottish councils have been working on the idea since 2017.

Now the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) is currently urging the Scottish government to scrap sanction-led employment benefits - like Universal Credit - in favour of the basic income approach.

And it is pretty hopeful, with charity boss Jamie Cooke believing Scotland is "at the brink" of piloting the scheme.

The Labour Party has also expressed plenty of interest in bringing in a Universal Basic Income.

Speaking at an event held by the RSA this week, Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell said his party would explore the idea of paying everyone a basic wage.

The RSA wants everyone to receive an initial basic income of PS2,400 a year for adults - with PS1,500 paid to every child. The idea would be to eventually double the adult payments to PS4,800 per person - which would work out at PS400 per month.

The idea of a Universal Basic Income is that everyone gets it - whether you are in work or not.

The RSA has not made clear thus far whether its plan would include extra support payments for those who may struggle to manage living costs on just PS400 a month.

We need progressive redistribute and wealth. income has potential people and society.

The RSA's report states how "child destitution would vanish almost immediately" if a basic income was introduced.

Walton MP Dan It predicted that the full PS4,800 roll-out would "completely eliminate destitution in Scotland".

Scotland is considering piloting basic income schemes in four cities, including Glasgow and Edinburgh. Jamie Cooke, head of RSA Scotland, said: "Basic income is increasingly of global interest and Scotland is at the brink of doing something very different and bringing the first basic income pilots to the UK.

"Our research shows how an initial basic income could be introduced in Scotland in a way that is progressive, affordable and would halve destitution, while paving the way for a full basic income in the future.

"But the idea must be tested - and our engagement with Scottish citizens found support for experimenting against today's discredited Universal Credit system - which is why we suggest a robust stepping stone before a 'full' basic income is introduced."

Three scenarios were modelled in the RSA's report - the status quo; a PS2,400 per adult basic income; and the full basic income of PS4,800.

It found the full basic income would be the fairest but cost the most at 3.5% of Scotland's GDP, while the partial basic income is proportionately easier to fund due to the removal of the tax allowance, costing 1.2% of GDP.

The idea of a Universal Basic Income have already been discussed in Liverpool.

Last year, Labour's deputy group leader Cllr Ann O'Byrne raised the idea of the city bringing in the plan at a full council meeting.

She urged council chiefs to write to the UK government asking for Liverpool to be considered as a pilot city for any tests of a UBI.

Cllr O'Byrne is now vying to be the new leader of Liverpool City Council and may look to advance this idea if she gets into power.

The idea has also been backed by Walton MP Dan Carden, who said: "We need radical progressive policies to redistribute power and wealth.

radical policies to power A basic the empower transform "A basic income has the potential to empower people and transform society."

Carden

We need radical progressive policies to redistribute power and wealth. A basic income has the potential to empower people and transform society. Walton MP Dan Carden

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Four Scottish councils have been working on the universal basic income idea since 2017
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 10, 2019
Words:686
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