This interim report outlines the progress of the Expert Group over its first year. It outlines our initial thinking in advance of our full report in 2024. The report shows the foundation principles we have agreed together with our key findings in relation to a Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland. This shows what is coming into focus and some of the high-level features a Minimum Income Guarantee should and could take. The report also outlines some initial key actions required to pave the way for early roll-out of a Minimum Income Guarantee following our final report, and to begin to reform the existing system to build the foundations for Minimum Income Guarantee.
The Expert Group has made significant progress in its first year. In year two, we plan to continue to refine and focus what form a Minimum Income Guarantee will take. In doing so, the Expert Group wished to outline the key remaining questions which will help to shape our work between now and the full report in 2024.
Key questions for year two:
1. At what level should Scotland’s minimum income guarantee be set? As outlined in our findings in this report, we envisage a Minimum Income Guarantee level set above the poverty line and as close as possible to the Minimum Income Standard for different households. At what level does a Minimum Income Guarantee need to be set at to guarantee a dignified quality of life for everyone? How should this level be set, uprated and reviewed?
2. How should a Minimum Income Guarantee be tailored for differing individual and household needs? How can we balance the need for simplicity with the desire to support people and households’ differing needs?
3. Who should be covered by the Minimum Income Guarantee? As outlined in our findings in this report, we envisage the Minimum Income Guarantee to cover anyone who falls below the Minimum Income Guarantee level. Should this be universal to residents, citizens, or others and should this be immediate or after a certain length of time? At what age should the Minimum Income Guarantee start?
4. How can collective services contribute to delivering a Minimum Income Guarantee? The more equitable, accessible services that are delivered for free or at a lower cost, the lower the level of a Minimum Income Guarantee would need to be – but how do we quantify this, can we include this if uptake varies and should collective services be expanded from now? Likewise, how can the costs of other essential goods and services be reduced and made more accessible, for all or for those underneath the Minimum Income Guarantee level?
5. How can the world of work be reformed so that it effectively contributes to a Minimum Income Guarantee? How can we work nationally, regionally or at a sector-level to drive increases in pay, promote improved access to equal pay and to the labour market for women, disabled people and marginalised groups, and support improved terms and conditions around hours, flexibility, progression, security, and skills? What impact would this have on the design of a Minimum Income Guarantee?
6. What reform to work-related services could be implemented alongside a Minimum Income Guarantee to ensure its success? This could include reform to employability services, skills, education and services that can reduce costs including social care (and therefore the level of a Minimum Income Guarantee).
7. In its full form, a Minimum Income Guarantee payment could replace many income-assessed payments. How would this interact with payments for households with additional costs (e.g. disabled households or carers)? Should it provide support for childcare or housing? How could this be done and what are the potential unintended consequences to avoid? What would the system and transition look like?
8. How responsive should the Minimum Income Guarantee payment be to changes in circumstance and income? A Minimum Income Guarantee could be assessed every three or six months (or longer) providing people with certainty for their levels of support. Should clawbacks have a place in a Minimum Income Guarantee system?
9. How should a Minimum Income Guarantee payment be assessed and how should this payment be made to recipients? How can assessment be automated and the least invasive as possible? How should savings and capital be treated by the Minimum Income Guarantee? How can we ensure that we retain flexibility, choice and security for those that receive a Minimum Income Guarantee payment?
10. What would a Minimum Income Guarantee system designed to tackle intra-household injustice and financial needs look like? How can the Minimum Income Guarantee support women’s economic independence? What can a Minimum Income Guarantee do to help to tackle financial abuse?
11. What administrative systems and arrangements would be necessary to deliver a Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland (including IT systems)? How could these systems be put in place and over what timescale (costs etc)?
12. Do the public support the concept of a Minimum Income Guarantee, what would they expect this to look like? Do other groups – such as employers – see benefits and potential risks in proposals for a Minimum Income Guarantee?
13. What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of a Minimum Income Guarantee, both for the population as a whole (those covered by the universal guarantee) and for lower-income households (those in receipt of the MIG payment)? This might include benefits around wellbeing, security, mental health, unpaid work, productivity among others.
14. A key aim of a Minimum Income Guarantee is to reduce inequalities, how do we ensure this integrated into its design, that it is accessible to all and what steps need to be taken to encourage uptake and raise awareness among marginalised communities? What are the potential unintended consequences of MIG in relation to equalities?
Piloting, Implementation and Evaluation
15. What are the desired outcomes e.g. reduced poverty, inequality and/or increased financial security? What are the key dependencies and uncertainties for delivering these?
16. What elements of a Minimum Income Guarantee would benefit from piloting, if any? How should a Minimum Income Guarantee be implemented? How could a Minimum Income Guarantee be rolled out, over what timescale and to which groups?
Finance and Costing
17. How much will it cost to implement a Minimum Income Guarantee in full? How much would first steps through existing powers cost? How will a full Minimum Income Guarantee be funded? How could the first steps be paid for?
18. Would a Minimum Income Guarantee provide potential economic benefits or disadvantages through effects on productivity, wellbeing, skills and inclusive growth?
19. What progress can be made towards a Minimum Income Guarantee through existing powers (in relation to social security, employment, tax and borrowing etc)?
20. What further powers would be necessary to implement a full Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland?
These are just some of the remaining questions we will aim to consider in year two. If you have key questions you believe we should be looking at please do get in touch at MIGSecretariat@gov.scot.
Year two workplan and expected outputs
The Expert Group will continue to examine the themes outlined below across year two and will form the basis of our full report in 2024.
Propose a level for a Minimum Income Guarantee, which considers:
- how the level might vary based on need;
- how this will be updated or uprated;
- how will collective services contribute.
Provide advice and recommendations on how work can be reformed so that it can effectively contribute to a Minimum Income Guarantee.
Recommend how a Minimum Income Guarantee will work alongside existing social security payments including:
- a decision on which existing payments should be replaced;
- how disability, carers and housing assistance is complementary to a Minimum Income Guarantee system;
- support for childcare costs.
- How a MIG payment would work in practice.
Coordinate and analyse public opinion research on awareness and support for a Minimum Income Guarantee. Responsible for framing, communications and promotion of reports and recommendations.
Support the production of an evidenced based Equalities Impact Assessment (EQIA). Continue to integrate and mainstream equalities analysis into our considerations and review all outputs to ensure equalities considerations have been made throughout.
Cost and Financing
Potential costs and options for funding a Minimum Income Guarantee.
What current powers can be utilised now and additional powers needed for further growth of a Minimum Income Guarantee.
Piloting, Implementation and Evaluation
Consider implementation, testing and evaluation, including roll-out.
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