LAST year, when announcing her Programme for Government, Nicola Sturgeon committed her administration to research “the concept and feasibility of a citizens’ basic income.”

It is, Business for Scotland say in their discussion paper, an idea that needs to be properly explored, and one that could bring benefits more wide reaching than initially thought.

The think tank says bigger, more comprehensive trials need rolled out, and call for the establishment of a publicly-owned “people’s bank” with an account for every citizen who has more than 10 years full-time residence in Scotland or who holds a skilled work visa exemption.

The group says the amount of money deposited monthly for each citizen should be “at least equal to the current pension and benefits that it will replace.”

It will be paid in either pounds or in a “Scottish digital currency” that has a value of 10 per cent more than sterling.

While the citizens who opt for the Scottish Government cryptocurrency will get more, they can only spend it in Scotland-owned or local businesses.

The think tank argues this will “increase the speed of money in the economy” and encourage more people in Scotland to become self-employed and start their own businesses.

Business for Scotland states in the paper: “Most benefits and also pensions, which are not a benefit, other than those due to disabled people will be replaced by the new basic income.

‘‘So the current cost of pensions and benefits such as housing benefit and unemployment benefit will reduce the overall cost of the scheme, which will complement the economic benefits and increased public revenues from the other groundbreaking policies in the Clarity approach, making a Scottish citizens income affordable as well as desirable.”

The group also says a Scottish citizens’ income would end “extreme and in-work poverty, encourage all important nascent and female entrepreneurship, exponentially increase volunteering levels and reduce unemployment to almost zero.”

The pro-indy think tank says the policy would cut bureaucracy and the money spent on welfare and benefits. It would also allow more people to “achieve their potential and find self-actualising employment”.