GLASGOW City Council will call on the UK and Scottish Governments to fund a universal basic income trial.

A motion put forward by City Treasurer Ricky Bell was passed by the council, with support from the city’s Greens.

He said creating a universal basic income (UBI) would be “on parallel with the introduction of the NHS”.

His motion asked councillors to back a pilot scheme and instruct the council’s chief executive, Annemarie O’Donnell, to write to the Prime Minister and First Minister noting the city’s willingness to collaborate.

Labour councillors proposed an amendment, calling for a further study and public engagement, but this was not accepted by Mr Bell.

Glasgow Tories oppose a universal basic income trial, believing money should be targeted at those who need it most.

Mr Bell said a UBI was a modest, unconditional payment, given to every citizen on a regular basis.

“It is not means tested and there are no degrading assessments,” he added.

“A basic income would, I believe, be the most effective way to reduce poverty because it is the most direct and transparent way of doing so.”

He said there has been a “huge growth” in in work poverty and the country needs to “start thinking more creatively about our relationship with work”.

The “safety net of UBI” would allow people to turn hobbies into businesses, go back to school or college to study, stay at home to raise children, look after elderly parents or volunteer in their community, Mr Bell said.

“UBI is not a panacea and it will not fix every ill in the land, but it will be a stepping stone to a much fairer Scotland.”

The City Treasurer added a feasibility study, carried out by four Scottish councils, including Glasgow, concluded a trial would be “desirable” but could not be delivered in the current devolved settlement as the necessary tax powers lie with the UK Government.

“It’s the political will that is missing,” he said. “When we wanted money to bail out the banks during the stock market crash, we found it.

“When we wanted money to wage illegal wards in Iraq, we found it. But somehow when we want money to create a better life for our citizens, we cannot find it.”

Labour’s Bailie John Kane said: “We, as a council, have previously voted to support a pilot for a citizens’ basic income,” he said, adding Labour’s “support will continue”.

The party’s amendment intended to “build the broadest evidence base”, Mr Kane said.

It called on the Scottish Government to fund a further study, to scope a wider pilot, estimate full administrative and other related costs and bring forward a report for further public engagement.

Labour councillor Jane Morgan added: “We still need to be able to compare the impact of spending the net cost of UBI on more conventional, but reformed, social security approaches.”

Greens councillor Allan Young said: “UBI has always been a policy of the Scottish Greens as long as we’ve existed.

“It’s very pleasing to see other parties starting to recognise its transformative potential.

“The importance of an unconditional income has been made even clearer by so many people falling through the cracks of the UK Government’s coronavirus support.

“We know that a UBI could lift thousands of Glaswegians out of poverty and make our economy fairer and more equal.

“In that sense, it’s quite baffling that Scottish Labour councillors rejected moving this on to the next stage.”

Tory councillor Ade Aibinu said he believed UBI was “extremely misguided” and “much more targeted measures” should be considered.

His party colleague Kyle Thornton also said support should target “those who will benefit the most”.

He accused Mr Bell of “lazy politics” by “saying the money can be found”.

“What he was referring to were one-off costs, I would hope a City Treasurer would understand the difference between one-off costs and ongoing liabilities.”