Local ‘citizen’s basic income’ (CBI) schemes are being launched across the globe, so it is useful to remind ourselves of some of the fundamental criteria we expect to see in any proposal. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement (MS5) in the Italian city of Livorno, for example, is extending an initiative to provide a guaranteed basic income to some of the city’s poorest families as a fundamental way to help those in poverty without the patriarchal overtones of traditional welfare programmes. However, while this local pilot avoids violating some of the essentials of a CBI – the M5S national proposals would see CBI being reduced as income rises, leaving the programme with all of the disincentives of existing social welfare programmes (benefits reduced as income rises, requirements to participate in active labour policy mechanisms, the costs of verifying compliance and general administration and so on), beneficiaries in the Livorno pilot will still lose eligibility if their income rises over the ceiling.
Closer to home, Fife Council are examining how a basic income could be trialled in Fife, and represent the likeliest candidates for a basic income pilot in the UK. We are staging an event with Fife Council in Kelty on January 28th for all those interested in learning more, and shaping the debate on basic income in Scotland. If you’d like to attend you can register for a free ticket here.
- Mike Danson, Trustee, Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland
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