Minimum Income Guarantee in an independent Scotland

Enabling people to thrive and live with dignity.

The latest paper in the Building a New Scotland series, Social Security in an independent Scotland, published this week, outlined how a Minimum Income Guarantee could ensure everyone can achieve a dignified standard of living.

The proposals included how a Minimum Income Guarantee could:

  • be set at a higher rate than current UK Government benefits and respond to real changes to the cost of living
  • enable all households to live with financial security
  • ensure those who are able achieve the minimum income level through fair and accessible paid work

Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“With limited powers, the Scottish Government has already delivered transformative social security benefits that have made a real difference to people’s lives. Due to the policies of this government, an estimated 90,000 fewer children are expected to live in poverty this year.

“However, we want to go further and that is why we have proposed that a Minimum Income Guarantee could be introduced in an independent Scotland to ensure everyone has enough support to not only survive, but to thrive.

“The UK approach to social security has provided inadequate levels of financial support and has eroded the effectiveness of the safety net. It is only with the full economic and fiscal powers of an independent nation that we can use all the levers other governments have to tackle inequalities in Scotland.”


Social Security in an independent Scotland

Work to explore the potential for a Minimum Income Guarantee is taking place in this parliamentary term. With cross-party support, a Strategy Group and an Expert Group have been set up to look at how such a guarantee could be developed under current powers and what this could look like with the full powers of independence.

The report acknowledges that it may not be possible to realise the full potential of a Minimum Income Guarantee under the current devolution settlement, but it sets out a bold vision for a universal guarantee of financial security – making sure that we all have enough money for housing, food and the essentials that allow us to live a decent, dignified, and healthy life.


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