An Aberdeen politician has called on the UK Government to implement a new benefit scheme to ensure as many people in need are receiving support as possible.
Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak amid concerns too many people are “falling through the cracks”, urging him to bring in a Universal Basic Income (UBI).
A UBI would mean a guaranteed minimum flat rate income is paid to every person in need of welfare during these unprecedented times, which would also help to keep the economy afloat. It is something the SNP has been pushing for.
There have been concerns that the current job retention scheme and self-employment income support scheme leave many people ineligible.
A UBI would replicate a system introduced in Spain.
Mr Stewart argued this system would be simpler to administer and would put money in the pockets of people more quickly.
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He said: “My office has been inundated with people left outside the tent looking in because they have lost their job and are ineligible for any of the UK Government’s support schemes.
“We are in unprecedented times that require unprecedented measures and a UBI will provide that simple but radical solution that’s required.
“Quite simply, too many people are falling through the cracks and no amount of tinkering around the edges will suffice.
“Now is the time for a universal system so no person is left behind.”
In his correspondence to Mr Sunak, Mr Stewart said: “I am writing to ask for a fair and inclusive system of financial support to protect all people’s incomes in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The SNP has consistently argued that a UBI would mean no person could fall through the cracks.
“You have shown a degree of flexibility in adjustments made to the system in place, but nothing will bring about the universal support that is required without the introduction of a universal system.”
The UK Government did not respond to a request for comment.