A conference held in Kelty this weekend heard from a number of academics and politicians and debated the merits of introducing a Citizens Basic Income that would see every person receive a basic income.
The idea is creating interest across the world and there are pilots running in Finland, India, Canada, Switzerland and Pakistan. Fife Council have promoted the idea as part of their focus on tackling inequality and are in the process of working up a pilot project to run over a few years in a local village or town.
Speaking at the event Professor Karl Wilderquist of Georgetown USA said; “We need a basic income because it’s wrong for anyone to deny anyone else access to the resources they need to survive. The conditional welfare state does just that by incorporating the paternalistic idea that the prosperous have the right to tell the poor what to do. We need to get this idea out of our system. It was supposed to go along with a promise that everyone who worked or who could prove they were unable to work would live well. But this promise has never been fulfilled either for all who worked or all could prove disability. And it has not protected the welfare state from slow and steady attack.”
Also speaking at the event was Scottish Labour Deputy Leader and Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alex Rowley who talked about the introduction of the welfare state in the first half of the last century and said; “For many people back in the 1940’s that idea would have seemed like utopian, and unworkable for it was bold and new and ambitious in its drive to tackle poverty. Today, in 21st century Scotland, in Britain and in a global world we have to be equally bold and ambitious in our drive to create a more fair more just society.
He continued; “The Citizens Basic Income is not a new idea, but it is in my view an idea whose time is coming and I am pleased that Fife Council is showing great imagination and leadership in both promoting this and agreeing to enable a pilot”.
Photo shows Alex Rowley addressing the conference in Kelty
Please see a copy of the motion raised by Alex in the Scottish Parliament on the launch below:
Motion Number: S5M-03559
Lodged By: Alex Rowley
Date Lodged: 20/01/2017
Title: Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland
That the Parliament notes the launch of the new charity, Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland, in Kelty Community Centre on 28 January 2017; welcomes the attendance of Professor Karl Winderquist, who is one of the world’s leading experts on basic income, to the event; understands that the charity is being launched in Fife as a result of the recommendations by the Fairer Fife Commission and the Carnegie Trust to pilot a Citizen’s Basic Income Scheme in that area; commends Fife Council in leading the way in the UK in exploring the potential benefits of a basic income scheme; recognises that a citizen’s basic income would see everyone given a set amount of money every month, which could reduce the anxiety that is often faced within the current social security system, and looks forward to seeing the results of the potentially transformational idea that could create a fairer, more equal and kinder society.