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Thursday, April 11, 2024

Steps Towards a Minimum Income Guarantee

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The Expert Group on a Minimum Income Guarantee, a commitment under the Bute House Agreement, has delivered its interim report to Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison.

The report from the group sets out early considerations for the Scottish Government which could prepare the ground for a minimum income guarantee policy, including the need to reform employment, reduce household costs through free or subsidised services and look at a new social security payment for anyone who does not meet the minimum income level.

Ms Robison, who is Chair of the Minimum Income Guarantee Strategy group, said:

“A Minimum Income Guarantee would ensure everyone can secure an acceptable standard of living with enough money for housing, food and other essentials to allow them to live a decent, dignified, healthy and financially secure life.

“I warmly welcome the report’s recognition that ensuring employment is equitable, flexible and accessible to all, can contribute to achieving a minimum income, along with making sure household costs are affordable.

“I want to thank the Expert Group for the work they have done so far to look at how this ambitious policy could be delivered.

“It shows progress can be made now, even though further powers around employment, social security, tax and borrowing would be necessary to realise the full potential of a Minimum Income Guarantee.

“We are already taking action in several areas highlighted by the expert group, including expanding provision of high quality, funded early learning and school age childcare over the course of this Parliament.

“We have also established a social security system with dignity, fairness and respect at its heart which is now delivering 13 benefits.

“In addition, we are requiring our public contracts to insist on the living wage and from July 1st public sector grants will require recipient organisations to pay at least the real living wage and ensure a meaningful voice for workers.

“The Scottish Government will await the final report from the Expert Group.”

Russell Gunson, Chair of the Expert Group and Head of Programmes and Practice at The Robertson Trust, said:

“A Minimum Income Guarantee is a simple but transformational idea which could hugely reduce levels of financial insecurity, poverty and broader inequalities in Scotland.

“It could also act as a crucial foundation for delivering inclusive growth, fair work and the wellbeing economy.

“This interim report outlines our progress so far in understanding what a Minimum Income Guarantee could look like and how it can be delivered.

“The Scottish Government are fully committed to delivering a Minimum Income Guarantee over the long-term, we have cross-party support from all five political parties in the Scottish Parliament and we can make progress through existing powers.   

“The cost-of-living emergency and our experience through Covid exposed our safety net as having been eroded far too far.

“We must think and act long-term if we are to truly respond to what people are facing now, and the experience of the last few years, to deliver a social contract and safety net fit for the future.”

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