A SENIOR MP from Finland, where a basic citizens' income has been introduced, has offered to help SNP ministers introduce the radical policy in Scotland, which he claims will make work more – not less – attractive.

Oras Tynkkynen, a Green MP, said the flat-rate payment made to all adults had also boosted the incomes of those who had previously faced a choice between surviving on benefits and working in low-paid jobs.

Under the Finnish universal income scheme each adult receives around €560 a month, just less than 20 per cent of the average wage. This does not prevent them also working but their additional incomes are taxed.

Tynkkynen claimed the policy had transformed lives of poverty-stricken Finnish families since it was introduced a year ago.

It benefited those in insecure and low-paid jobs, he maintained, arguing a similar scheme in Scotland would protect workers employed on zero-hours contracts and those in the so-called gig economy by providing them with a financial safety net.

He added that Finnish campaigners, including himself, wanted to help the Scottish Government pursue the plan.

Ministers are trialling the citizen’s income in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife and North Ayrshire.

Tynkkynen, who was a policy adviser to the Finnish Government, claimed the payment would transfer well to Scotland.

His intervention came after one of Nicola Sturgeon's closest advisors called for the rich to be taxed in order to fund a basic citizens' income for the poor in Scotland.

Harry Burns, who serves on the Scottish government's Council of Economic Advisors, said a citizen’s "basic income" would "transform life in deprived parts of Scotland".

Tynkkynen dismissed suggestions the policy would be a disincentive to work.

He said: “In the Finnish case, one of the main drivers for basic income is to make working more attractive.

“With fairly high levels of social security [by European, if not Nordic standards], moving from social security to employment may not always make much financial sense for an individual.

“As every euro earned on top of basic income increases the amount of money you actually get, it provides an incentive for people to take up work, even short-term and part-time."

Tynkkynen said the payment in Finland had also provided an additional financial prop for vulnerable people forced to live on benefits.

He said: “Another key argument is to improve the coverage of social security. Even in a Nordic welfare society like Finland, some people fall through the holes of the social safety net.

“This may be due to moving from one needs-based social benefit to another [from a student to being on sick leave, for instance] or simply not having the capacity to apply for the right benefits and to provide the right paperwork."

In response, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are absolutely committed to reducing the deeply ingrained inequalities that exist across Scotland.

"At its root this is an issue of income inequality, which is why we are shifting the emphasis from dealing with the consequences to tackling the underlying causes.

“We are looking closely at international examples of the citizens’ basic income and are offering funding and support to the four local authorities that have been identified to test this policy in Scotland, which will be available this year, to help them scope their potential pilots.”