A new report published by the Carnegie UK Trust explores the practicalities of pursuing a Citizens Basic Income (CBI) pilot scheme in Scotland. The report has been written by the Scottish Basic Income Steering Group, a partnership between four local authorities, NHS Scotland and the Improvement Service.

The report is based on discussions with the teams behind CBI pilot schemes in Finland, the Netherlands and Ontario, Canada –  selected due to their comparable context, being wealthy nations with well-established welfare systems. These exchanges were facilitated by a study visit to the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) Congress 2018 in Tampere, Finland, funded by the Carnegie Trust.

The focus of the report is on the practical successes and difficulties faced by these international CBI pilots, providing essential background and learning for a prospective Scottish scheme. Key learning centred on pilot context and framing, and also on research design and evaluation. The Ontario CBI scheme is most directly comparable to the prospective Scottish trial as it was focussed on tackling poverty and inequality – showing encouraging results.

Political backing has been central to the feasibility of CBI pilots, with both the Finnish and Canadian schemes ending early due to changes in political leadership. The Scottish Government has so far proved supportive, and has provided funding for investigation into the viability of CBI in Scotland. However the success of any full pilot will be dependant on the cooperation of the UK government, tax and social security agencies.

SURF is highly supportive of a Scottish CBI pilot scheme, this was one of the policy proposals contained in our 2016 Manifesto for Community Regeneration.

The full report can be found here.