A think tank has called for a trial of pay-as-you-drive motoring and a universal basic income in a manifesto which it claimed could “do a great deal of good” if enacted by the next Scottish Government.
Reform Scotland produced the manifesto ahead of May’s Holyrood election, saying it wanted to publish a series of proposals that might “garner cross-party support”.
Chris Deerin, the think tank’s director, said such action was needed because while the Scottish Parliament had been intended to operate differently from Westminster, things “hadn’t worked out like that”.
It called for a scheme of electronic road pricing, where motorists would be charged according to the amount of miles they covered.
It also called for VAT and corporation tax to be devolved to Holyrood, along with the “majority” of welfare benefits.
The think tank also suggested a basic income scheme could provide a “long-term solution to many problems within our welfare system and could help to create the right long-term environment as we rebuild our lives and our economy” after coronavirus.
Reform Scotland recommended all school pupils should be able to sit up to eight exams in S4, arguing that having areas where youngsters can only sit a maximum of six has “created a huge difference in opportunity based purely on where a child goes to school”.
Mr Deerin said each of the suggestions could improve the state of the nation “a little”, and taken together they could achieve a “great deal”.
He said: “Holyrood was supposed to be better than this.
“In the heady early days of its creation there was both the sense and the intention that the Scottish Parliament would work differently to Westminster. There would be less of the two-swords-length approach to politics, more constructive working across party lines, perhaps even a longer-term view of the national interest.
“Apart from a few rare occasions, it hasn’t worked out like that.
“That’s why Reform Scotland has decided to publish a manifesto ahead of May’s election that explicitly proposes policies that might garner cross-party support.
“We believe each of our suggestions would improve the state of the nation a little, and taken together would do a great deal of good.”