At the end of October, the Glasgow city council voted in favor of a proposal to request from the governments of the United Kingdom and of Scotland to fund a pilot scheme for a Universal Basic Income (UBI). The proposal was put forward by the town treasurer, Ricky Bell, with the support of the Greens.

Ricky Bell stated that the creation of a universal basic income would be in parallel with the introduction of the NHS, the public health service of the United Kingdom. He added that a UBI is a modest, unconditional payment given to every citizen on a regular basis.

“I believe that a basic income would be the most effective way to reduce poverty because it is the most direct and transparent way.”

He said that there exists “a huge increase” in poverty among workers and the country should “start to think more creatively about our relationship with work.”

The “safety net of a UBI” would allow people to transform their hobbies into businesses, to return to school or to university to study, to stay at home to bring up their children, to care for their elderly parents, or to become volunteers in their communities, Mr. Bell said.

“UBI is not a panacea and it will not fix every ill in the land, but it will be a stepping stone to a much fairer Scotland.”

“It’s the political will that is missing”, he said. “When we wanted money to bail out the banks during the stock market crash, we found it. When we wanted money to wage illegal war on Iraq, we found it. But somehow when we want money to create a better life for our citizens: we cannot find it.”

Kim Long of the Scottish Greens stated that their goal is “to combine UBI with progressive taxation so that the wealthier will contribute much more to the public purse. UBI will provide stability in the face of job insecurity. It will effectively eradicate homelessness, periodic poverty, energy poverty and all forms of poverty.”

With information from the Glasgow Times

Translation by Jeannette A. Arduino from the voluntary Pressenza translation team. We are looking for volunteers!