The National:

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This year I have travelled Scotland, delivering 35 talks on wellbeing economics and Scotland's future. From the Borders to Fraserburgh, a few questions came up time and again. At some events people wrote their questions down, so I have hundreds of question cards – a great asset for anyone championing an idea.

Many of those questions have been answered in my past wellbeing economics columns but a few interesting cards jumped out at me today. So let's answer a few questions in this column and a few more next week. Not in great detail – the column isn't long enough – but with a few general principles.

READ MORE: Reinventing Scotland: 'Policy' can't save us – wellbeing economics can

Three questions about the wellbeing economic approach and Scotland:

Q1 - The biggest proportion of wealth exists with older people. Many wealthy people hardly pay as much tax as their wealth comes from interest, investment and rent rather than salary. Young people on the other hand struggle to buy homes or have any meaningful financial security. How does the wellbeing economic approach address this issue?

A1 - I completely agree with the premise of this question. Intergenerational fairness is a key principle of the wellbeing economy. Don't get me wrong, that does not mean removing wealth from older folk or maintaining the UK’s pauper-pension, it is not an either/or situation.

One of the key policies that flow from any story of Scotland’s transition to a wellbeing economy includes a wellbeing pension. This is calculated by Scotianomics to be the minimum amount required for those receiving the basic state pension to be able to live with dignity. Just to put on their heating when it’s cold, to buy a new winter coat and to eat properly. Currently, they get £156.20 per week but they need £235 per week.

  • We need to balance this policy with initiatives that directly address intergenerational inequality. Here are a few principles that we should follow:
  • We should make the Real Living Wage the minimum wage for all workers not on apprenticeships or work experience. If businesses can’t afford a reasonable day's pay for a reasonable day's work then they are not good businesses.
  • Young people who are not in education or training should get the same minimum wage as those 23 and over – that should be the Real Living Wage.

Rent controls are important because too many young people get sucked into bidding wars for substandard flats just to find a place to live near their work. With such a high proportion of their earnings going on rent, they are unable to save a deposit to buy their own places – largely because their landlords are increasing property prices by using their rents to outbid young people as they buy new rental flats.

Build a lot more affordable housing. Frankly, we are creating an unsustainable property bubble and all planning permissions for new housing must include affordable housing. Only building at the top end of the market unbalances it, raising mid-level property prices and forcing people out of commutable neighbourhoods.

READ MORE: Reinventing Scotland: Forget UN COP summits – here's the green idea

Q2 - Will the Westminster parties - the Tories and New Labour - try to hijack wellbeing economics and say that's their goal, even though they will be lying, and how will people be able to tell?

A2 - Labour in particular will try to say they believe in a wellbeing economy and will engage in a major virtue signalling exercise. However all they will offer is hollow words, as their policies heading into the next General Election will largely be targeting the neoliberal conservative values of London and the south east and the anti-immigration, anti-Europe sentiments that turned the Red Wall seats blue.

How do we counter that? Well it’s simple: The Scottish Government needs to commit to key wellbeing economic policies such as the wellbeing pension and demand that the Westminster parties adopt them. When Westminster says no, as it has time and time again, you have proof that they are lying and have a unique selling point to campaign on.

Q3 – How do we demonstrate tangible wellbeing benefits for the people and the economy, and stop it becoming a box-ticking exercise for the Scottish Government akin to greenwashing?

A3 – This is something I hear a lot – the idea that the SNP/Green Government is only pretending to be interested in wellbeing, with no real change on the cards. I guess the proof is in the pudding. In my answer above, I demonstrated the need for the SNP to commit to the wellbeing pension and other similar wellbeing initiatives and call the Westminster parties’ bluff. If they don't do that, then they will lose a bucket load of seats at the next election.

The National: Flynn's MPs should commit to a wellbeing economy, argues MacIntyre-KempFlynn's MPs should commit to a wellbeing economy, argues MacIntyre-Kemp (Image: PA)

For what it's worth though I do believe that the Scottish Government is committed to transitioning to a wellbeing economy – they maybe just don't fully understand exactly how to do that yet. Governments are a sum of the policies they promote. Many of the Scottish Government's policies seek to mitigate the inequality and unfairness of the Westminster system. Creating a wellbeing economy requires complete system change, which involves a completely different set of skills.

As with independence, the transition to a wellbeing economy requires cultural change and governments manage people to create change. We need the people to lead and the Government will follow. That's why I write these columns and do those talks – to encourage a national conversation on Scotland's wellbeing.