Why is RSA Scotland focusing on UBI?
The RSA is becoming involved in the debate not simply to add to the considerable philosophical and theoretical thicket. We have accepted the arguments in favour – that Basic Income is the best system to support the range of contributions that people wish to make - as well as being the most humane system- and we set ourselves the goal of helping shift the idea more towards the mainstream and practical reality.
Scottish Government will fund basic income experiments
Since 2016, a number of local authorities in Scotland have committed their support for local experiments into the impacts of Basic Income. Fife, Glasgow and North Ayrshire Councils have all committed to exploring such experiments. These Councils were recently joined by Edinburgh. In September 2017 the Scottish Government announced support and funding for these local initiatives.
As Head of RSA Scotland, Jamie Cooke explains how Scotland, once again, has a chance to act as a beacon of enlightenment.
How will it be funded?
A sovereign wealth fund
By borrowing around £200bn at historically low interest rates the government could establish a fund, potentially able to pay itself back through economic growth engendered by investment in human capability from the fund. The returns for these funds are way above current interest base rates.
Taxes on transfer of data assets
Some form of tax on usage of public data or the transfer of data assets to tech platforms and others. Companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Apple generate considerable profit from UK residents’ data, and options should be explored for how some of this could be reclaimed for public benefit.
Levies on companies assets
The IPPR's Matthew Lawrence has advocated for the introduction of a 'scrip tax', whereby companies with a certain level of assets would be required to issue some of that equity into a government fund in the form of shares.
A wealth tax
A modest increase in the tax paid by the wealthiest in society could generate substantial income towards funding UBI