Basic Income (BI) is the idea that the state should give a regular cash payment to people on an individual basis, without means-testing or making them look for work. It has become something of a hot topic within civil society across the UK, and particularly in Scotland where it is gathering increasing levels of political and public support. Scotland is at the forefront of countries giving serious consideration to whether Basic Income is a viable means of tackling poverty.
The discussion around Basic Income in Scotland is extremely significant for disabled people as we are more likely to be living in poverty and have been disproportionately hit by austerity measures and welfare reforms through cuts to the various different inter-related social security payments and public services that we depend upon.
In this context, a new vision where poverty is eliminated by a Basic Income, where everyone has a secure income, and unpaid work such as caring responsibilities are valued on a par with paid work is potentially very attractive to disabled Scots.
However, we find that discussions about Basic Income often fail to involve disabled people, and therefore to address our key issues, such as how a Basic Income would meet extra costs related to disability. Some disabled people are therefore feeling concerned that potentially we could be actively disadvantaged by proposed schemes.
In this context, where Basic Income for disabled people is contested but fairly unchartered, we at Inclusion Scotland held a round table discussion in July 2019 to discuss and debate Basic Income.
We have since created a discussion paper , which draws from academic and non-academic sources on Basic Income, with an overview of the key issues surrounding Basic Income for disabled people.
Basic Income discussion paper (Word doc)
We hope by outlining the key issues for disabled people around Basic Income that we have provided a resource to others keen to see the inclusion of disabled people in this debate in Scotland.