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29 Jul 2016

            Although most people regard it as completely improbable – I find myself increasingly persuaded by the idea of a universal basic income (UBI). Just to be clear – I mean the unconditional right of every citizen to sufficient income to cover basic human needs – i.e. food, shelter, clothing etc; in essence, everyone getting paid just to live. You can add to your UBI by working; if you don’t need UBI, your tax code will remove it; UBI will replace almost all of the present cumbersome and stigmatised benefit system.

            The brilliant economist, John Maynard Keynes, anticipated that the western standard of living would multiply at least four times its 1930 level – and that, by 2030, we’d all be working just 15 hours weekly. The UK and USA are already five times wealthier than in 1930 – but the benefits have been captured by an elite. Even Keynes couldn’t have anticipated the pace at which technology is now replacing human labour. UBI is a way to ensure that this new wealth passes beyond global corporations – down to the general population.

            But the most persuasive attraction of UBI is the release it would bring from the enforced labour of crappy jobs which so many have to endure. With basic needs met – our work can become something we choose to do – and the idea that most would be idle is nonsense. Everyone has creative potential – and given the opportunity will pursue and fulfil it. Alongside love, our work has the potential to be the most rewarding experience of our lives; how wasteful for society that most are denied the chance. Good piece in the New Yorker.



I find myself wearying of the Brexit convolutions – it’s all too complicated; but thankfully Nicola is a ‘commando’ – her impressive...Read more

The SENs is the name Senscot gives to our work with Social Enterprise Networks (SENs) - both thematic and geographical. SENs provide members with opportunities for peer support, collective action and market development. The vision is of a growing community of 500 frontline social enterprises across Scotland - connected and energised through a network of Networks.

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The SENs: Friday 29th July 2016

This week’s Third Force News highlights concerns being raised by Unison that many of the Scotland’s third sector care providers are facing a ‘perfect storm’ – of increased demand for services and reducing income/funding levels. Deborah Dyer, voluntary sector organiser at Unison Scotland, suggests that ‘smarter working’ is required – that could include mergers or the curbing of senior management salaries – to ensure that frontline services are maintained. In these difficult times, it is also worth looking at alternative approaches from both here and abroad. Last week’s bulletin mentioned that already a number of social care charities across the UK are looking to pilot the Buurtzorg model. Another example worth considering is the Italian social co-operative model where - in Emilia Romagna - over 80% of social services are provided via local, self-organising social co-ops. Closer to home, the Care and Wellbeing Co-op in Perthshire also provides an alternative model.


Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian (West Lothian Third Sector Interface) and WLSEN are taking a new approach to delivering the social enterprise function of the TSI. Both parties have signed an Agreement that sees WLSEN recognised as the lead body for social enterprise support within West Lothian and contracts WLSEN to deliver outcomes for social enterprises as agreed in the TSI Workplan, whilst retaining its independence. This model could also...Read more
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