Jerked into life by the First Minister’s apparent though tentative support for the Reform Scotland think-tank urging a basic income guarantee, or universal basic income (UBI), Tom Gordonstoun writes in the Herald today:
‘Even on these antique numbers, the costs are astronomical at £20bn a year, or half the current Scottish budget. It would be partly paid for by scrapping some benefits, scrapping the personal tax allowance, and adding 8p to all rates of income tax. So the starter rate of income tax in Scotland would be 27% on the very first pound of earnings as opposed to 19p on earnings over £12,500, rising to 49% for the higher rate and 54% for the top rate. There is no doubt higher taxes will be used to pay for the emergency, but adding extra burdens just to give people back some of their own money seems a bizarre go-to solution.’
There are two clear irritants here for Gordonstoun. First Reform Scotland is not anti-independence and second, UBI unavoidably leads to higher taxes for the better-off. It costs but it’s worth it.
Contrary to some reports, Finland has not given up on the idea and there are many other experiments going on:
With Gordonstoun, perhaps tellingly, is the discredited lobbyist group for the corporations and the rich, the Institute of Economic Affairs, formerly the Taxpayers’ Alliance, fronted by Kate Andrews:
Over to you readers.