AN INDEPENDENT think tank has called for a basic income to be introduced in Scotland as a “logical and necessary” support amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reform Scotland has called on the Scottish and UK governments to introduce a “basic income” scheme to support people through the coronavirus crisis.

The think tank has suggested the allowance is set at £5,200 per year for adults and £2,600 for children.

According to the think tank, the basic income guarantee would cost the Scottish Government £20.4 billion a year.

Reform Scotland suggested measures to raise £18.34 billion by scrapping the personal tax allowance along with some benefits, and increasing all rates of income tax by 8%.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously called a basic income “the right thing” to do, while the Spanish Government has announced its intention to introduce the policy.

Ms Sturgeon has welcomed the discussion amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: Coronavirus in Scotland: Fears of surge in poverty as economy hit

She said: "We have been previously exploring the concept of a  citizens' income, a universal basic income.

"It's a concept I have long been interested in, although haven't come to an absolutely definitive view in my mind about whether it's something that would be practical or indeed, desirable to do.

"Of course, there would still be a lot of detailed  exploration and work to do  around a universal basic income but I do think, given the nature of what we are dealing with right now, the case for that has been immeasurably strengthened."

The SNP supported the concept of a basic income back in 2016 and  the party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford has called for the policy amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Scotland would need co-operation with Westminster in order to be able to introduce such a policy. The UK Government has so far said such a move is unnecessary due to the current support package put forward.

READ MORE: Councils draw up plans for universal basic income

Reform Scotland board member Siobhan Mathers said: “The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented crisis, which is seeing major government interventions to help our country and its citizens make it through to the other side.

"We believe one of those interventions should now be a basic income. It is a logical and necessary consequence of coronavirus.

“As a response to the acute consequences of coronavirus, a basic income would provide some financial certainty to the many people who have been thrown into a sudden and catastrophic loss of employment or reduced hours.”

She added: “It would be a bold, but welcome short-term move. However, we suggest it would also create the right long-term environment as we try to rebuild our lives and our economy.

"Our current social security system is overly complicated, and actively discourages work because the loss of benefits when a person starts work can often leave them losing money.

READ MORE: Johnson "considering" emergency Universal Basic Income to help people through virus crisis

“Our national economic recovery must begin with a clear signal that work always pays. Our basic income guarantee would do that, because working would not lead to a withdrawal of benefit.

“It will take political boldness, political will, and the sort of cooperation between the Scottish and UK governments which has been such a welcome by-product of the coronavirus crisis so far.

“People are suffering from the pandemic because they are doing the right thing by the government. Now the government must do the right thing by the people.”

Reform Scotland has claimed that many people will miss out on the range of financial support packages announced by the UK and Scottish governments.

Reform Scotland has proposed that every citizen, regardless of income, gender or employment status, received a set amount of money, free of tax, but in place of personal allowances, tax credits and a number of other benefits.