An Independent Scotland needs a new Welfare State fit for the 21st Century, which protects the most vulnerable people in society a dramatic change from the current old fashioned Social Security System. I believe that a Country owes a duty of care, to protect the children, disabled, pensioners and those unable to find work living within its borders.
1 A countries future lies in its children especially those living in poverty for a range of reasons, single parent families may occur because of the death of one parent from illness or accident, those parents able to obtain only Zero-hour employment contracts and low paid part time employment. Many parents in these groups qualify for Working Tax Credits.
2 As one of the most vulnerable groups in any society, those disabled people including those with mental health issues who are unable to obtain employment and require 24/7 care should be included within this group.
3 Those retired from work after a long lifetime of service to their communities qualify as vulnerable citizens especially the unpaid carers in society, those forced to retire because of health issues and those retiring on the current Basic Pension topped up by Pension Tax Credits. Many of these people are women.
4 People who are unable to obtain employment require support rather than penalties to help them through access to education, training and work experience to achieve employment.
Transferring and using the money used to fund current benefit packages, including working and pension tax credits, (excluding housing and child benefits) to pay Basic Income for All to all citizens, government administration costs would be reduced. All of those expecting to retire would be reassured that they would receive this type of payment on retirement whatever happens within the rest of the UK.
The current basic pension with the Triple Lock in place provides for all single people
= £525.00 per month = £6,300.00 per annum
Plus Additional Pension Tax Credits
Suggested Annual Income per citizen under Basic Income for all trail schemes are = £8,000.00
Providing a total monthly income = £667.00 approximately.
Young people between the ages of 16 -21 years old, living at home, will receive a payment of approximately = £500.00 == £6,000.00 pa.
Trials of this type of payment to all citizens will commence in Scotland within the next few years in Fife, Cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh and in Ayrshire.
Scotland’s Gross Domestic Product of which over 50% goes to Westminster, if a tenth of this sum was used to fund this type of Basic Income for All instead of the current Benefits System the Government would save money.
When this type of payment is given directly to every single citizen in the country over the age of 21 years, all of those in receipt of disability benefits, single parents, pensioners and the unemployed it would reduce the costs of administrating the current welfare system and move many citizens working zero hour contracts and below the ideal minimum wage of £10 per hour part time work out of poverty and reduce the need for food banks.
This type of payment to every citizen in a nation would stimulate the country’s economy as people would have money to spend within their local communities. When all of the citizens receive this type of payment automatically the population will pay tax, only if their individual income is greater than the latest tax threshold. For those in employment, with employer pensions or any other source of additional income will only be taxed if their total income, including the basic income for all payment, is higher than the basic tax threshold.
This Basic Income payment to those whose work is valuable within a society but is generally unpaid, the many unpaid carers, those who work within the voluntary sector, the mothers with pre-school and primary school children would have choices, to stay home or employ the appropriate carers, and disabled, retired and unemployed people would have similar choices. These payments would allow people to study, attend extra training to refresh their knowledge and skills in their current area of expertise or investigate other employment options. People may if they choose explore the arts in an area of interest to them.
Basic Income for all is not a new concept, Thomas Paine, author of the ‘Rights of Man’ wrote about this type of payment to the general population in 1797.
Members of the population in special circumstances would need further discussion as to the sums made available to them these would include young people in care until the age of 18. The Scottish Devolved government did put forward a proposal in 2016 for a basic income scheme but the Conservative Work and Pensions Minister Damian Hinds, after explaining why the current controversial welfare changes, known as Universal Credit will not now begin until after March 2022 to avoid errors, has stated that the Basic Income for all scheme would be too expensive and ineffective in September 2016.
Current trials of Basic Income for All from around the world.
Finland is piloting a small trial this year, 2,000 people from 25-58 will receive a payment of E560 or £475 per month.
Within the Netherlands, several cities including Utrecht and Groningen are using UBI in Utrecht several different groups of people will receive E970 under differing conditions.
In Livorno, Italy, 100 of the cities’ poorest families received UBI of approximately E500 each month and the City has increased the number of poor families receiving this money by an additional 100. Other Italian cities are watching this trial with interest.
In Ontario Canada, a UBI pilot will be launched this spring.