Scottish Tories want '˜unaffordable' basic income pilots scrapped

The Scottish Conservatives have called for citizen's income pilot schemes to be scrapped as the cost to councils was revealed.
Michelle Ballantyne. Picture: Toby WilliamsMichelle Ballantyne. Picture: Toby Williams
Michelle Ballantyne. Picture: Toby Williams

Research by the party found that local authorities have committed almost £600,000 worth of resources to investigate the feasibility of a basic income scheme for Scotland.

The Scottish Government has pledged £250,000 to help North Ayrshire, Fife Glasgow and Edinburgh councils carry out local pilot work.

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Documents released to the Tories under freedom of information legislation show that together the councils propose to support the pilots with an additional £450,530 worth of staffing resources as well as £114,000 in cash.

In addition Fife Council has already undertaken background work on the idea of a basic income with funding of £34,000 awarded for 2017/18.

The documents also refer to an unspecified staffing contribution from NHS Health Scotland.

Tory social security spokeswoman Michelle Ballantyne said: “This initiative is an SNP vanity project which even its own advisers think is a crazy idea.

“It’s completely unaffordable, unsustainable, and will end up harming those it’s supposed to help.

“While I may not have agreed with spending the initial £250,000, I accept that some people felt that it was important to test the theory.

“But that cost to taxpayers has now trebled before it’s even begun, which is a strong indication about just how chaotically expensive this will become.

“And once the NHS elements are factored in, the costs will be well on their way to £1 million.

“The scheme should be dropped now before any more taxpayers’ money is wasted.”