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Scottish Government start work on basic income guarantee in bid to eradicate poverty

Scottish basic income
It's hoped the plan will help to tackle poverty in Scotland

Work by the Scottish Government to establish a universal basic income will get underway on Tuesday in a bid to ‘eradicate poverty’.

Scots have been asked for their views on the plan, which would see everyone guaranteed a minimum basic income regardless of their employment.

The government’s social justice secretary, Shona Robison, who represents Dundee City East, will co-chair the first meeting to drive forward the plan.

Ms Robison has also launched a consultation to gather views on establishing and delivering a Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland.

Shona Robison will chair a meeting on a Scottish basic income
Dundee MSP Shona Robison will lead the Scottish Government’s efforts

The government said such a move would provide an assurance everyone in Scotland would have enough money to live a “dignified, healthy and financially secure life”.

But they stressed it was not a mechanism to allow employers to keep wages low, with the government encouraging secure, well paid employment.

Scottish Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy and Conservative MSP Miles Briggs will join the committee.

Scottish basic income could be ‘revolutionary’ in fight against poverty

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Shona Robison said: “We are committed to progressing the delivery of a Minimum Income Guarantee, which could be revolutionary in our fight against poverty.

“It is a clear demonstration of our ambition and aspiration for Scotland.

“The policy is innovative, bold and radical. It reflects our clear desire to do everything with our limited powers to deliver the change needed, using every lever at our disposal.

It is a clear demonstration of our ambition and aspiration for Scotland

“Eradicating child poverty and building a fairer, more equal country must be a national mission, not just for the government, but our parliament and broader society.”

She added: “We recognise this is a cross-government responsibility and we are focused on working together to push forward poverty reduction in Scotland.

The policy would guarantee everyone a basic yearly income

“We must look at ways of maximising household incomes from work and social security, as well as reducing costs on essentials including services such as childcare.

“Introducing a Minimum Income Guarantee will not be easy and it will not happen overnight, but there is a willingness to deliver on our ambition.”

The steering group will be co-chaired by Russell Gunson, director of the Institute for Public Policy Research in Scotland.

Mr Gunson said the policy would set a minimum income floor beyond which no one would fall.

‘Big ideas’ needed to build a fairer Scotland

He added: “To build a fairer and stronger Scotland following Covid-19 we will need to think big ideas in Scotland and think just as big on how to implement them.

“I’m delighted to be co-chair and look forward to working hard together to see tangible progress towards delivering a Minimum Income Guarantee for Scotland over the coming years.”

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