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.
I recently attended a conference organised by ‘What Works Wellbeing’, which looked at the emerging evidence of what promotes wellbeing and quality of life for individuals and society more generally. The conference was organised around the themes of the What Works programme – work and learning, culture and sport, communities and cross cutting methods.
The idea behind a wellbeing focus is that it goes beyond narrow measures of economic output. Scotland’s National Performance Framework illustrated below is an excellent example of just such an approach.
Focusing on early adolescence, a critical stage in development, this programme looks to examine the relationship between poverty, attainment, and children’s mental health as a means of addressing the attainment gap between rich and poor. The attainment gap is a global and complex problem, which requires international and multi-disciplinary perspectives. It will bring together academics, policy makers, and practitioners to question: what we currently know about the problem, how we can best extend our understanding of these relationships, and how this can inform public policy and practice. A sense of belonging to school lies at the intersection of poverty, attainment, and mental health. Through engagement with children the programme will build children’s voices into discussion, ultimately contributing to the Scottish Attainment Challenge.
Dr Joan Mowat (University of Strathclyde) – Inclusion, Children with Social, Emotional, and Behavioural Needs, Leadership for Social Justice
Dr Gale Macleod (University of Edinburgh) – Education, Young People Identified as having Disruptive Behaviour
Alastair Wilson (University of Strathclyde) – Social Mobility, Mentoring, Widening Participation
Dr Anna Beck (University of Strathclyde) – Educational Policy, Teacher Professionalism
Graham McPheat (University of Strathclyde) – Social Work and Looked After Children
Professor Stephen McKinney (University of Glasgow) – Creativity, Culture, Poverty
Dr Louise Marryat (University of Edinburgh) – Mental Health, Public Health and Policy
Lee Knifton (University of Strathclyde) – Head of the Mental Health Foundation
Marian MacLeod (Children in Scotland) – Policy Manager, Children’s Welfare
Patricia Lyon (Place2Be) – Cluster Manager, Counselling for Children
Paula Dudgeon (Glasgow City Council) – Educational Psychology
Professor John McKendrick (Glasgow Caledonian University) – Applied Human Sociology, Poverty and Inequality
Fiona McHardy (The Poverty Alliance) – Research and Information Manager
Aileen Wilson (Inverclyde Children’s Services) – Children’s Rights and Participation
Dr Gillean McCluskey (University of Edinburgh) – Multi-agency working, Pupil Voice
Sara Spencer (Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland) – Project Manager