Lorna Slater speaking at Scottish Greens Conference

The Scottish Greens have said they would introduce Universal Basic Income pilots in communities across Scotland.

A Universal Basic Income is a mechanism that would provide everyone with a guaranteed income through the welfare system. Supporters of the policy argue that it would help alleviate poverty, provide a form of remuneration for unpaid and reproductive labour, and reduce inequality. They point to research from countries which have trialled Universal Basic Income schemes similar schemes, such as Finland, show that recipients experience benefits such as improved wellbeing whilst not discouraging work. Yet efforts to trial it in Scotland have been hampered by the constraints of devolution and a lack of cooperation from the UK Government.

The Scottish Greens say that introducing a Universal Basic Income would deliver a simpler system without complicated means tests, cruel benefits sanctions and confusing rules, and would reduce the stress involved in the current system whilst tackling poverty and inequality.

The party’s co-leader Lorna Slater said: “There is nothing inevitable about poverty. The UK is one of the wealthiest countries in the world but there are thousands of families struggling to make ends meet and parents being forced to skip meals.

“By taking steps towards a Universal Basic Income we can offer financial security and dignity to every person and family in our country and end the scourge of child poverty.

“A basic income would be a game changer in terms of tackling poverty, while also boosting health and wellbeing and removing so much of the stigma of our social security system.

“This generation of politicians has the ability to end poverty and build a society that we can be proud to hand down. But it won’t happen by itself. We need to be bold and ambitious and prepared to make the positive and transformative changes that will be felt for generations to come.”

The Scottish Greens have said that in advance of piloting a Universal Basic Income, they would want to see significant changes to the welfare system.

Slater said: “Over the last 14 years the Tories have run a social security system based on anxiety, insecurity and humiliation, and Labour is planning to keep the key pillars of it in place. It doesn’t have to be like this.

“With the limited powers of the Scottish Parliament we have begun to build a far more humane system, and introduced the groundbreaking Scottish Child Payment, which has lifted 100,000 children out of poverty. There is far more to do though, and with the powers of a normal independent country, we could start to chart a radically different course.”