Greens: Citizen’s Income would reduce inequality

Posted on 11/08/2014 by

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Green Yes, the Scottish Green Party’s campaign for a Yes vote in the independence referendum, has published a paper showing how a Scottish Parliament with responsibility for welfare could implement a Citizen’s Income to reduce inequality.

The Greens have worked with Dr David Comerford, research fellow in economics at the University of Stirling, as well the Citizen’s Income Trust, to model the impact of the policy on household incomes.

One of the aims of the policy is to reduce the incredible complexity of the tax and benefits system, which penalises those with unreliable work or insecure housing. A longstanding Scottish Green policy, the Citizen’s Income would sweep away almost all benefits and the state pension and replace them with simple, regular payment to every child, adult and pensioner.

The paper is the latest in a series produced by the Green Yes campaign showing how independence opens up possibilities for progressive change in Scotland. Other papers have covered jobs, wages and the economy, local democracy, banking reform and digital rights.

CITIZEN’S INCOME – 70% CENT OF HOUSEHOLDS BETTER OFF

Under the model detailed in the paper:

– Weekly payments are proposed of £50 to children, £100 to adults and £150 to pensioners.
– 70 per cent of households would be better off than presently.
– Those in the lowest income bracket would benefit the most.
– Measures of inequality would be brought in line with some of the most equal countries in the world.
– Income earned in addition to the citizen’s income would continue to be taxed progressively.

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said: “This is a policy to recapture and renew the idea of a welfare state that looks after everyone. Scotland is a wealthy country, and we should be able to choose a different approach to austerity and the harmful attitude which pits people on poverty pay against those on benefits.

“A Citizen’s Income would ensure everyone’s basic needs are met. It’s a simple idea that could transform this country by reducing inequality and allowing each of us to make our own decisions about working, caring, learning and creating, without ending up on the breadline.”

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and member of Holyrood’s Economy Committee, said: “The referendum debate allows us to imagine what sort of Scottish welfare system we could design after a Yes vote, and this is the Greens’ vision for a simpler and fairer approach. A Citizen’s Income would be an especially positive policy for women as it would make it easier to combine working and caring roles.”

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