Joseph Stiglitz warns Nicola Sturgeon AGAINST citizens income

Posted on Oct 22 2017 - 6:11pm by admin

Professor Joseph Stiglitz, a key member of the Scottish Government’s council of economic advisers, warned public money would be better targeted at the poor and creating jobs.

The Nobel prize winner’s embarrassing intervention comes just days after the First Minister vow to press ahead with research despite warnings it could cost an extra £12.3billion a year.

Civil servants have warned the policy would be “very costly” and could push income tax above 50p.

Ms Sturgeon admitted on Friday the idea “might not turn out to be feasible” but she has been accused of pandering to hard-Left Greens, who have championed the scheme for several years.

The scheme would replace most benefits with regular payments to all Scots, regardless of wealth.

Glasgow, Edinburgh, North Ayrshire and Fife councils have expressed interest in piloting a “citizen’s basic income”.

But Professor Stiglitz told BBC Sunday Politics Scotland limited money should be targeted at those most in need.

He said: “I do worry about two things – one that there are fiscal constraints and should the scarce money be used to give everyone a basic amount or should it be targeted at those who have particularly strong needs?

“I think there needs to be some targeting.

“Secondly, over the long run our responsibility as a society is to make sure that everybody who wants a job can get one and the underlying problems of lack of employment and lack of adequate pay – anybody who works full time ought to have a liveable income – those are the issues in the long run that we need to address.”

Last month, Ms Sturgeon announced that the Scottish Government would work with councils to fund research into the concept, which has been trialled in several other countries.

In a speech in Glasgow about economic growth, Ms Sturgeon said said it would be wrong to be “closed-minded” despite the affordability concerns.

Asked on the same programme about Professor Stiglitz’s remarks, SNP MP Stuart C McDonald said he attracted “enormous respect” but “that’s his view and others have a different view”.

He added: “I think the Scottish Government has taken absolutely the right approach. It’s looking into the pros and cons and will come to a reasoned conclusion in due course.”

Scottish Tory social security spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “We now have one of the Scottish Government’s key economic advisers saying that we should not bother looking at introducing a citizen’s income.

“With so many experts telling her his plan is a non-starter, why then is Nicola Sturgeon continuing to pursue it?

“The only conclusion voters will take is that this is a desperate attempt to appease the far left of the independence movement – rather than a policy that is in the best interests of Scotland.”

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