Scotland has launched plans to create a form of universal basic income in the country to reduce poverty and inequality just a day before Glasgow is set to host a global conference on the progressive idea.
Shona Robison, social justice secretary for Scotland, co-chaired the first meeting of a steering group to assess how ministers can create a minimum income guarantee on Tuesday. The Scottish government has also created a consultation on plans to bring in the policy, which Robison described as “revolutionary in our fight against poverty”.
The plan, promised in the Scottish National Party manifesto ahead of May’s election, comes as Glasgow hosts the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) Congress. The conference brings together 1,000 academics and activists from across the globe to discuss how distributing regular payments to everyone can create a minimum income and reduce poverty.
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“We are committed to progressing the delivery of a minimum income guarantee, which could be revolutionary in our fight against poverty. It is a clear demonstration of our ambition and aspiration for Scotland,” said Robison.
“The policy is innovative, bold and radical. It reflects our clear desire to do everything with our limited powers to deliver the change needed, using every lever at our disposal. Eradicating child poverty and building a fairer, more equal country must be a national mission, not just for the government, but our parliament and broader society.
“Introducing a minimum income guarantee will not be easy and it will not happen overnight, but there is a willingness to deliver on our ambition.”