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article imageScotland may try a basic universal income

By Owen Weldon     Nov 26, 2016 in Business
Officials in Scotland have discussed trailing a scheme that would replace benefits with a universal basic income, or one flat-rate payment.
Scotland could roll out universal basic income (UBI) after a proposed trial won huge backing. Jamie Cooke, the head of the Royal Society of Arts Scotland, said this is an exciting opportunity for the country to consider something radical.
Discussions on how to develop a scheme for a trial took place yesterday. Those taking part in the discussion included civil servants, Scottish councilors and members of the Scottish Basic Income Network.
As for how much the UBI would be, the Royal College of Arts suggested £3,692 (about $4,600USD) per year for adults, £7,420 ($9,163.66) for those over 65 and around £2,925 ($3,612.36) or £4,290 ($5,298.13) for children dependent on age and the number of siblings they have, but it would be paid to their parents.
The idea of basic income to all is simple: give people money on a monthly basis, and that will cover living expenses such as clothes, food, transport and utilities. They would receive this money regardless of their current income status, social status or anything else.
Advocates for UBI said the system would allow the government to scrap costly layers of bureaucracy, as well as the discriminatory layers within Scotland's current welfare system. Advocates also say UBI would provide a safety net for everyone, regardless if they're working or not. Critics say taxes will increase and money would be given to those who don't need it.
Earlier this year, the Scottish National Party voted to favor a motion backing the principle of UBI. However, it's not clear who will fund the trial, which will likely need backing from Westminster.
More about Scotland, Income, basic universal income, universal income
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