The public are being asked for their views on the 'bold and innovative' plan to tackle poverty
Work to examine creating a Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland is underway.
Social justice secretary Shona Robison will today (17 Aug) co-chair the first meeting of a new steering group to drive forward the new policy which aims to reduce poverty, inequality and insecurity.
Different from a flat-rate Universal Basic Income, which has been trialled in countries such as Finland and Canada, a Minimum Income Guarantee would see money targeted at those with the least to give every household an acceptable standard of living and reduce poverty, inequality and insecurity.
It could involve employment, tax relief, social security benefits, as well as services in kind, such as childcare and transport.
The Scottish Government is examining the creation of the system for Scotland - which would replace the current benefits system - in a bid to tackle growing inequalities.
A consultation to gather views on how establishing a Minimum Income Guarantee - which aims to provide an assurance that everyone would have enough money to live a dignified, healthy and financially secure life – could be designed and delivered in Scotland has now been launched.
Robison said: “We are committed to progressing the delivery of a Minimum Income Guarantee, which could be revolutionary in our fight against poverty. It is a clear demonstration of our ambition and aspiration for Scotland.
“The policy is innovative, bold and radical. It reflects our clear desire to do everything with our limited powers to deliver the change needed, using every lever at our disposal.
“Eradicating child poverty and building a fairer, more equal country must be a national mission, not just for the government, but our parliament and broader society."
The cabinet secretary added that creating the system would be challenging. She said: “We recognise this is a cross-government responsibility and we are focused on working together to push forward poverty reduction in Scotland.
“We must look at ways of maximising household incomes from work and social security, as well as reducing costs on essentials including services such as childcare.
“Introducing a Minimum Income Guarantee will not be easy and it will not happen overnight, but there is a willingness to deliver on our ambition.”
The steering group will be co-chaired by Russell Gunson, director of the Institute for Public Policy Research in Scotland, which published a report earlier this year on how a future Minimum Income Guarantee could look.
Gunson said: “A Minimum Income Guarantee could transform the lives of people across Scotland, setting an income floor in Scotland beneath which no one would fall.
“To build a fairer and stronger Scotland following Covid-19 we will need to think big ideas in Scotland and think just as big on how to implement them.
“The MIG Steering Group is a great step, bringing cross-party representatives and experts from across Scotland together to shape a Minimum Income Guarantee and make progress on delivering it.
“I’m delighted to be co-chair and look forward to working hard together to see tangible progress towards delivering a Minimum Income Guarantee for Scotland over the coming years.”
The views of those with lived experience, MSPs from all parties and voluntary sector representatives will be heard on the group.