**Universal basic income trials being considered in Scotland
Scotland looks set to be the first part of the UK to pilot a basic income for every citizen, as councils in Fife and Glasgow investigate trial schemes in 2017.
The councillor Matt Kerr has been championing the idea through the ornate halls of Glasgow City Chambers, and is frank about the challenges it poses.
“Like a lot of people, I was interested in the idea but never completely convinced,” he said. But working as Labour’s anti-poverty lead on the council, Kerr says that he “kept coming back to the basic income”.
Kerr sees the basic income as a way of simplifying the UK’s byzantine welfare system. “But it is also about solidarity: it says that everyone is valued and the government will support you. It changes the relationship between the individual and the state.”
The concept of a universal basic income revolves around the idea of offering every individual, regardless of existing welfare benefits or earned income, a non-conditional flat-rate payment, with any income earned above that taxed progressively. The intention is to provide a basic economic platform on which people can build their lives, whether they choose to earn, learn, care or set up a business…
The idea has its roots in 16th-century humanist philosophy, when it was developed by the likes of Thomas More, but in its modern incarnation it has lately enjoyed successful pilots in India and Africa.
Despite its utopian roots, champions believe that this is an idea whose time has come, particularly in Scotland where the governing SNP voted in support of a basic income at their spring conference (although the proposal has yet to make it into their manifesto).**