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Highlands could trial Universal Basic Income scheme

14th December 2017

Highland Council has agreed to explore the feasibility of introducing a Universal Basic Income in the Highlands. The idea could see a pilot project to replace benefits with a basic income from the state. Similar trials are ongoing in a number of countries including India, Finland, Canada and some cities in the Netherlands. The Scottish Government recently announced funding for research into UBI in the Programme for Government.

SNP Councillor for Inverness Ness-side, Ron MacWilliam, secured a debate at Council HQ today (Thurs 14th December 2017).

He commented:"I was delighted at the interest and support for my debate today from across the political spectrum and I look forward to further detailing these proposals at the Council's Corporate Resources Committee in the new year.

It could potentially make an enormous difference to carers, seasonal tourist workers and those who work in other insecure jobs across the Highlands. Early results from trials in Finland show a huge reduction in levels of stress as people no longer need to account their every move to benefits officers. This freedom actually boosts motivation to find work, to set-up businesses and partake in other positive and creative pursuits.

I think the Highlands is an ideal place to add to this body of international research and I will be pushing for the Highland Council to join Glasgow, North Ayrshire, Fife and Edinburgh local authorities in this exciting project."

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