Basic Income, under various monikers, has attracted a growing level of global attention in recent years. At times referred to as Universal Basic Income or Citizen’s Basic Income, it represents an innovative approach to many pressing issues in contemporary society. In September 2017, the Scottish Government committed £250,000 to allow four local authorities to explore the feasibility of Basic Income pilots. In theory, a Basic Income would replace many current benefits and tax allowances with an unconditional, non-withdrawable payment to each citizen. This foundational income would not be means tested, allowing all to rely on a stable, partial income.
In the week that we celebrated World Statistics Day it seems fitting to reflect back on what I learned recently at the OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy in Mexico. The forum was the fifth of its kind over the last decade that have focussed on the need for better measures and policies for societal progress. This year, the strapline, ‘Transforming Policy, Changing Lives’ signalled a move forward from simply measuring progress, to translating these measures into policy and practice.
The conference highlighted that much work has been done in recent years to develop robust indicators and collect data on wellbeing across different countries, and there was a strong sense that wellbeing is now part of a mainstream agenda, backed by evidence and data. This is coupled with a growing international acceptance of the need to move beyond GDP as the sole measure of progress. Continue reading “Statistics, wellbeing and policy”