Universal Basic Income Trial In Scotland & Finland

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
Now , for once , something very interesting to report which is not dark or gloomy.

I will let the article do the talking .... for once. Please .... no applause !

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 35926.html

Universal Basic Income concept is not new . and has been discussed / debated / pulled apart / reassembled just by a few of us years ago.

Suffice to say , this may well lead to a better future for all of us ... if the politicians don't interfere by watering the concept down to fit in with budgetary concerns.

A possible future candidate for a referendum ?

Long shot but .... will the future going be better for our chosen nag ?
A little more on the initial article from Business Insider UK ... an unlikely source ?

http://uk.businessinsider.com/universal ... ?r=US&IR=T

Hopefully , it will prove a success thus raising the profile even more.

Dare any English Authority trial the scheme in the future ?

Several European countries are set to do the same.
A success , of sorts , Finland ... article in today's Guardian :


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... sic-income


A basic income for everyone? Yes, Finland shows it really can work.

Mark Zuckerberg, Bernie Sanders and Elon Musk back the idea. And trials suggest it can liberate jobless people from a life of humiliation.



Well worth reading ... a new concept that has many merits !

Certainly of interest to a minimum of 13 million of our fellow citizens ... close / at / below the Official Poverty Line ... probably less in 1 in 10,000 ( ? ) are aware of such alternatives ... how many fellow carers / carees amongst their ranks ?

In a speck of a village deep in the Finnish countryside, a man gets money for free. Each month, almost €560 (£500) is dropped into his bank account, with no strings attached. The cash is his to use as he wants. Who is his benefactor? The Helsinki government. The prelude to a thriller, perhaps, or some reality TV. But Juha Järvinen’s story is ultimately more exciting. He is a human lab rat in an experiment that could help to shape the future of the west.

Last Christmas, Järvinen was selected by the state as one of 2,000 unemployed people for a trial of universal basic income. You may have heard of UBI, or the policy of literally giving people money for nothing. It’s an idea that lights up the brains of both radical leftists – John McDonnell and Bernie Sanders – and Silicon Valley plutocrats such as Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. And in the long slump that has followed the banking crash, it is one of the few alternatives put forward that doesn’t taste like a reheat.

Yet hardly anyone knows what it might actually look like. For all the fuss, Finland is the first European country to launch a major dry run. It is not the purists’ UBI – which would give everyone, even billionaires, a monthly sum. Nor will Finland publish any results until the two-year pilot is over at the end of 2018. In the meantime, we rely on the testimony of participants such as Järvinen. Which is why I have to fly to Helsinki, then drive the five hours to meet him.

Ask Järvinen what difference money for nothing has made to his life, and you are marched over to his workshop. Inside is film-making equipment, a blackboard on which is scrawled plans for an artists’ version of Airbnb, and an entire little room where he makes shaman drums that sell for up to €900. All this while helping to bring up six children. All those free euros have driven him to work harder than ever.

None of this would have been possible before he received UBI. Until this year, Järvinen was on dole money; the Finnish equivalent of the jobcentre was always on his case about job applications and training. Ideas flow out of Järvinen as easily as water from a tap, yet he could exercise none of his initiative for fear of arousing bureaucratic scrutiny.

In one talked-about case last year, an unemployed Finn called Christian was caught carving and selling wooden guitar plectrums. It was more pastime than business, earning him a little more than €2,000 in a year. But the sum was not what angered the authorities, it was the thought that each plectrum had taken up time that could have been spent on official hoop-jumping.

That was Järvinen, too, until this year. Just as with so many Britons on social security, he was trapped in a “humiliating” system that gave him barely enough to feed himself, while refusing him even a glimmer of a hope of fulfilment.

So what accounted for his change? Certainly not the UBI money. In Finland, €560 is less than a fifth of average private-sector income. “You have to be a magician to survive on such money,” Järvinen says. Over and over, he baldly describes himself as “poor”.

His liberation came in the lack of conditions attached to the money. If they so wish, Finns on UBI can bank the cash and do nothing else. But, in Järvinen’s case at least, the sum has removed the fear of utter destitution, freeing him to do work he finds meaningful.

It sounds simple. It is simple. But to this visitor from Austerity Britain, with its inglorious panopoly of welfare scandals stretching from universal credit to Concentrix to Atos, it was almost fantastical.

This UBI trial was introduced by a centre-right government that is bringing in its own version of austerity, including big cuts to benefits and schools. Yet, try as I might to imagine Theresa May or Philip Hammond allowing even loose change to be given to the poor with no questions, I still draw a blank.

I visit Finland’s equivalent of Iain Duncan Smith, the social affairs minister Pirkko Mattila. A recent escapee from the populist True Finns, she carries no discernible hippy tendencies – not a whiff of joss stick. Yet she seems genuinely bemused that there could be any political resistance to handing poor people some money to sit at home. “I personally believe that in Finland citizens really want to work,” she says.

What this underlines is how debased Britain’s welfare politics have become compared with much of the rest of Europe. Blame Tory austerity, or New Labour’s workfare, or Thatcherism’s trite exhortations to get on your bike – but we have ended up with a system shot through by two toxic beliefs.

One, that poverty is the product of personal moral failure. For the former chancellor George Osborne, it was about skivers v strivers. For IDS, poverty was the rotten fruit of broken families, addiction or debt. Neither man, nor the rest of their party, can accept what their rightwing counterparts in Finland do: that poverty is no more than a lack of money.

What flows from that is the second bogus British belief: the idea that social security isn’t a safety net for all, but a cash-starved and demoralised triage system for the lazy and feckless right at the bottom.

Treating the poor as criminals in the making places welfare as an adjunct to the criminal justice system. It means declaring dying people as fit for work. It leaves disabled people living in mortal fear of their next Esa or Pip assessment; jobless people being sanctioned for no good reason.

And it is all next to useless. Bureaucracy and costs are displaced everywhere from the NHS to local councils to citizens advice bureaux. The government has, on its own assessments, failed to make a fraction of its proposed savings from reforming disability benefits. Think about all those ordinary people’s lives ripped up and ruined – and barely a penny saved.

If that was the philosophy of the Finns, they would never have got this experiment off the ground, and Järvinen would not now be dreaming up dozens of schemes.

Go to Finland for answers on universal basic income, by all means. But be prepared to come back with even more questions about why Britain abuses its poor.


Interesting ... rollout in place of pensions / UC by the next Government ?

Bookies are offering 100,00 - 1 ... perhaps closer to 500,000 - 1 once the next lot move in at the next " Clowns Election " ?

On the plus side , a fall scale financial meltdown might help in slashing those odds ???
Looks like the Basic Income trail is on it's way thanks to cross party support in Scotland :


https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... lot-scheme


Scotland united in curiosity as councils trial universal basic income.

Four local authorities tasked with turning utopian fantasy into reality with backing of first minister and multi-party support.


Universal basic income is, according to its many and various supporters, an idea whose time has come. The deceptively simple notion of offering every citizen a regular payment without means testing or requiring them to work for it has backers as disparate as Mark Zuckerberg, Stephen Hawking, Caroline Lucas and Richard Branson. Ed Miliband chose the concept to launch his ideas podcast Reasons to be Cheerful in the autumn.

But it is in Scotland that four councils face the task of turning basic income from a utopian fantasy to contemporary reality as they build the first pilot schemes in the UK, with the support of a £250,000 grant announced by the Scottish government last month and the explicit support of Nicola Sturgeon.

The concept of a universal basic income revolves around the idea of offering every individual, regardless of their existing benefit entitlement or earned income, a non-conditional flat-rate payment, with any income earned above that taxed progressively. The intention is to replace the welfare safety net with a platform on which people can build their lives, whether they choose to earn, learn, care or set up a business.

The idea has its roots in 16th-century humanist philosophy. The political theorist Thomas Paine advocated a citizen’s dividend. But there has been a groundswell of interest over the past decade not only among lateral thinkers but also anti-poverty groups, which see it as a means of changing the relationship between people and state, and between workers and the gig economy.

In Scotland, a country wearily familiar with divisions of a constitutional nature, the concept of a basic income is almost unique in enjoying multi-party favour. Across the four areas currently designing basic income pilots – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife and North Ayrshire – the projects have variously been championed by Labour, SNP, Green and, in one case, Conservative councillors.

Matt Kerr, who has tirelessly lobbied for the idea through Glasgow city council, said: “Reactions to basic income have not split along the usual left/right party lines. Some people to the left of the Labour party think that it undermines the role of trade unions and others take the opposite view. But there should be room for scepticism; you need that to get the right policy.”

Advocates are aware such unity of purpose is precious and worth preserving. “The danger is that this falls into party blocks,” said Kerr. “If people can unite around having a curiosity about [it] then I’m happy with that. But having the first minister on board has done us no harm at all.”

Inevitably, Sturgeon’s declared interest has invited criticism from her opponents. A civil service briefing paper on basic income, which expressed concerns that the “conflicting and confusing” policy could be a disincentive to work and costed its national roll-out at £12.3bn a year, was obtained by the Scottish Conservatives through a freedom of information request in October. The party accused her of “pandering to the extreme left of the [independence] movement”.

But advocates argue the figures fail to take into account savings the scheme would bring. The independent thinktank Reform Scotland, which published a briefing earlier this month setting out a suggested basic income of £5,200 for every adult, has calculated that much of the cost could be met through a combination of making work-related benefits obsolete and changes to the tax system, including scrapping the personal allowance and merging national insurance and income tax.

Sturgeon has remained committed to the pilots, telling a conference of international economists days after the critical briefing paper: “It might turn out not to be the answer, it might turn out not to be feasible. But as work and employment changes as rapidly as it is doing, I think its really important that we are prepared to be open-minded about the different ways that we can support individuals to participate fully in the new economy.”

The councils in question, which span a cross-section of urban and rural demographics, are studying feasibility as part of their broader anti-poverty work. Joe Cullinane, the Labour leader of North Ayrshire council, said: “We have high levels of deprivation and high unemployment, so we take the view that the current system is failing us and we need to look at something new to lift people out of poverty.

“Basic income has critics and supporters on the left and right, which tells you there are very different ways of shaping it and we need to state at the outset that this is a progressive change, to remove that fear and allow people to have greater control over their lives, to enter the labour market on their own terms.”

Cullinane also noted that while the Scottish government has asked councils to bid for a £250,000 grant between them, his administration had already set aside £200,000 in its budget for a feasibility study.

Dave Dempsey, the leader of the Conservative group on Fife council, who joined forces with its independent poverty advisory group Fairer Fife Commission to promote a potential pilot, the appeal revolves around the reduction of benefits bureaucracy. “I come from a maths and engineering background and there is an elegance to it,” he said.


I hope that any future trail goes well.

It would solve many problems IF handled right.
Hi Chris, can you check the link? Thanks,

Melly1
Thanks Melly ... link reposted ... url address identical ... weird ?

With UC doing the rounds , anything in England would be a back burner job unless ... a change in Government.

Even then , 4 / 5 years at the very earliest ... ?
I think UBI is a brilliant idea! It would save huge amounts of money currently 'wasted' on employing people to assess whether other people are 'entitled' to welfare funding etc etc.

However, without tackling the chronic issue of the UK's gross over-population and under-housing, it won't actually 'solve poverty'.

On those Reasons to be Cheerful, the hardest one, I think, was the notion that Income Tax should be Zero, and Inheritance Tax should be 100%.

I'm still trying to think that one through. On balance, I suspect it WOULD 'discintivise' productivity etc. It's very, very 'Darwinian' to want to protect our children.
PS - of course, the whole issue of IHT (inheritance tax) is likely to become completely irrelevant for my generation, as our entire wealth is going to be used up paying for our residential care..............................................................
The other inherent problem to making UBI a 'cure for poverty' is that sadly, so many of 'the poor' are mentally and behaviourally incapable of handling their own money, or taking effective responsibility for their lives - as a result, of course, of their own 'derelict' upbringing - chaotic families result in the next generation of chaotic families. I see this happening in my own family alas. Giving them 'free money' won't sort them out, as they are 'incapable' of running a family budget in the first place....
If pushed forward " As is " , the promoters will still have to answer one question first raised by us on CarerWatch of the Green Party hierarchy almost a decade ago.

How do you convince " Joe Public " to accept paying taxpayers' monies to those who do NOT contribute to society ?

Our argument , at that time , was to remove all pensioners / disabled / carers from the equation by the use of the " Social Wage " ... leaving the rest at the mercy of the , then , benefit system.

I can see major problems ahead for the same reasons ... as the Swiss have already explored , and rejected.