Scottish Think Tank Supports UBI

Common Weal, a Scottish think tank and activist organisation, has released a policy paper suggesting that universal basic income (UBI) could be the best option for an independent Scotland.

Dr Craig Dalzell, the Head of Research for Common Weal, argues that “the anxiety and stress caused by the pressure to conform to the constantly shifting rules around claiming welfare can itself have deleterious effects on the health and well-being of citizens,” and goes on to conclude that UBI “provides a powerful means of enacting the kind of wealth redistribution which promotes the kind of fairer, more equitable society which has been shown to best fulfil the needs of the greatest number of citizens.”

Dr Dalzell states that, as an independent Scotland would have to organise its own welfare system in any case, this would provide an opportunity to move to a different and more equitable means of providing welfare. He also argues that, by using UBI to replace current means-tested benefits, it would be possible to introduce basic income in Scotland without a significant level of increased taxation.

The question of whether Scotland will become independent from Britain is one that has come up a number of times in recent years, most notably in the Scottish referendum which took place in 2014. While this ended in a narrow victory for those who wanted to remain with Britain, the current plans for Britain’s exit from the EU have meant that the issue has arisen again, as the vast majority of Scots voted to stay in the EU. While there are no current plans for immediate Scottish independence, there are many who argue that it must take place eventually, particularly if Britain goes ahead with EU withdrawal.


More information at:

Craig Dalzell, “Social Security For All Of Us”, August 2017

About Claire Bott

Claire Bott has written 29 articles.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.


  • Jessie Allaway

    Scotland can never leave Britain without the use of a very large chainsaw! I think you mean leave the UK. The union you are referring to is UK. Britain is a geographical term and cannot be split up.

  • gabriel

    If all it would do is redistribute wealth, tax should not be affected at all. An even fairer way to redistribute wealth would be to give everyone an equal amount, not excluding anybody, and then they can redistribute that wealth themselves, no matter what their title. Why should one be given more/less than another.

    • UBI makes sense from a conservative point of view on grounds of efficiency.

      It also is a a tool which could be used in conjunction with income and wealth tax policy to eliminate poverty and move towards a more equal and more efficient society, hopefully happier!

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