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Festival of Politics 2022
11 to 13 August
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Friday, October 22, 2021

Radical solutions to poverty – give everyone £5,200?

Time: 1pm to 2pm

Is now the time to get radical and adopt the suggested Universal Basic Income of a guaranteed £5,200 per person, per year?


Event information

One in four children in Scotland live in poverty – the vast majority within working households. Is it now time to get radical and adopt the suggested Universal Basic Income of a guaranteed £5,200 per person, per year?

Would this stop generations of children growing up without resources to obtain the type of diet, amenities, living conditions and ability to participate in activities, that we’d expect in 21st-century Scotland?

What other radical solutions are out there to mitigate the detrimental effects of poverty? And to improve life chances before the cycle of generational poverty finally ends?

This event is brought to you in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University. It is chaired by Neil Gray MSP, Convener of the Social Justice and Social Security Committee.


Professor John McKendrick, Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University

John's primary research interests are on tackling poverty (with a particular interest in children) and children’s play. He is particularly keen that his work is of use to practitioners and campaigners beyond the academy who seek to tackle poverty in Scotland, the UK and the EU. Earlier this year he co-edited Poverty in Scotland 2021 (published by CPAG). Also this year, he has published research for Scottish Government, Poverty and Inequality Commission, Scottish Leaders Forum, Perth & Kinross Council, Good Food Scotland, Greggs Foundation and Belville Community Garden. Together with Professor Stephen Sinclair, he co-directs the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit (SPIRU). John writes a research column for the Scottish Anti Poverty Review and is on the Board of Trustees for the Scottish Pantry Network and the Tartan Army Children's Charity.

Wendy Hearty, Basic Income Project Manager of the Steering Group

Wendy led the Scottish Basic Income Feasibility Study alongside four local authorities (North Ayrshire, Glasgow, Edinburgh and FIfe), NHS Health Scotland and Scottish Government. This work concluded that whilst a pilot of basic income in Scotland would be recommended, it is not currently feasible. In recent years my recent interests have included fundamental causes of health inequalities, and most recently the importance of inclusive economy and just transition on health and health inequalities.

Russell Gunson, the Institute for Public Policy Research Scotland

Russell leads IPPR Scotland, Scotland’s progressive think tank, having founded and grown IPPR Scotland from scratch to become one of Scotland's leading policy organisations. Before joining IPPR, Russell worked across government, parliament, and the voluntary and private sectors.

Russell has led IPPR Scotland's influential work looking at the Scottish Parliament's powers, building expertise across a range of areas including tax, social security, inclusive growth, fair work, poverty and educational inequalities.

Russell has taken part in a number of policy commissions, including the seminal Commission on Widening Access and most recently becoming co-chair of the Minimum Income Guarantee Steering Group.

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