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