Minimum Income Guarantee Expert Group: October 2021 meeting papers

Papers from the meeting of the group on 13 October 2021.


Inclusion of experts by experience in the Minimum Income Guarantee Steering Group


This paper lays out the rationale for placing experts by lived experience of poverty and financial insecurity at the heart of the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) Steering Group’s work, as well as setting out options for how this can be accomplished by the MIG Steering Group’s Expert Group.


The MIG Steering Group was established and held its first meeting on 17 August 2021, having been set up to commence work to deliver a MIG for Scotland. The Group is comprised of a Strategy Group, comprised of MSPs and an Expert Group, comprised of individuals with insight and experience in fields and issues relevant to a MIG.

The Expert Group will be responsible for exploring the scope and ambition of a Minimum Income Guarantee, including considering work to date, addressing how existing powers can be used to deliver a MIG and identifying priorities for action both for the course of this Parliament and beyond.

The remit for the MIG Steering Group specifies that the Expert Group will include at least one member who is an expert by lived experience. Such members will be decided upon by the Expert Group Chair and may include people with lived experience relevant to the work of the Group – for example of poverty or financial insecurity. Experts by experience could be drawn from the Poverty and Inequality Commission’s recently established living experience panels, or identified by another suitable mechanism. Members of the Expert Group who are recruited as individuals on the basis of their lived experience will be appropriately reimbursed for their time and efforts in line with Scottish Government policies.

During the MIG Steering Group meeting on 17 August, the importance of ensuring that the participation of experts by experience was done in a thoughtful and effective manner was highlighted by a number of members of the Group. Key points raised during this discussion included:

  • that it would be essential to ensure that there was sufficient capacity and resource to properly support people with lived experience to be fully involved in the work of the Group
  • the valuable opportunity to draw upon the practices of the Poverty and Inequality Commission’s experience panels
  • that it was important to be clear about what type of lived experience is sought to be represented. Specific groups mentioned included those with lived experience of poverty, carers, disabled people, people in creative, hospitality or other low paid / insecure employment that has been affected by the pandemic, and people with no recourse to public funds (NRPF)
  • a number of group members offered access to the networks of their organisations to engage people with lived experience
  • the need for consideration of whether involvement could affect people’s social security entitlements and how to mitigate this

The desirability of having more than one person with lived experience on the group was raised, potentially with a direct experience panel sitting alongside the Group. There was recognition that a co-production / co-design model could work well in involving people with lived experience.

It was agreed that the Secretariat for the Group would produce a paper laying out different options for recruiting members of the Group who are experts by virtue of their lived experience, and that this would be shared in advance of the next meeting of the Expert Group.


Before laying out the options that the Group may wish to consider regarding the inclusion of experts by experience, it is worth clarifying the purpose of doing this. This will allow members of the Group to be assured that that whichever option is selected is aligned with the underlying rationale.

First, there are strong ethical grounds for adopting the practices of co-production for this policy development. The development and delivery of a MIG has the potential to be a truly transformative undertaking and could have significant effects on many people across Scotland particularly those with lived experience of poverty, insecurity and inequality. Thoughtfully and effectively bringing individuals who have direct experience of the issues that a MIG aims to address into the policy experience is right in terms of both practice and principle. Including experts by experience will improve the quality of the policy-making process and will align with the values of the MIG Steering Group.

The knowledge gained through co-production with people with lived experience will help to illuminate key issues and challenges and in turn will provide opportunities to generate ideas and develop strategies together that will help toward overcoming the identified challenges. There is evidence that it leads to better outcomes and services. Engagement with members of the public will be considered separately as the work of the group develops.


There are a number of different options for including people who are experts by experience in the Expert Group, these are laid out below. We suggest that these are considered in advance of the next meeting of the Expert Group, to be decided upon then. If members have any additional suggestions that they would like to have considered, we ask that they notify the secretariat in advance of the next Expert Group meeting, to ensure that these are included in the discussion.

It is important to note that all of the options below would require careful consideration about the additional support that may be required to enable the full and equal participation of members who are recruited on the basis of their expertise by experience. Any financial implications will also need to be considered.

The first option is to have the Expert Group directly recruit two or more members of the public to sit on the Group as members, drawing upon their expertise by lived experience. This option would be relatively straightforward and quick, but has a number of potential drawbacks. Recruiting individuals to represent diverse experiences of people across Scotland may place too much of a burden upon the chosen members, with the potential for them to feel pressure to represent broad and heterogeneous communities who do not have seats in the Group. This would also leave direct experience members without specific support to take part in and fully contribute in meetings as they are not affiliated with a particular organisation. This option could be viewed as tokenistic and could inadvertently result in an uneven power dynamic within the Group that would be difficult to resolve.

The second option is to draw upon existing panels used by other Committees and Steering Groups to engage directly with their members and use this as a means by which to get representation on the Expert Group. Although this may reduce the work required to recruit and support the new members of the Group, it has several potential drawbacks. These include the risks of overburdening experts by experience, who are likely to have significant commitments elsewhere and the linked need to secure agreement from the organisers of existing panels who will be mindful of the risk of overburdening the members they have recruited.

The third option is for the Scottish Government to set up – using in-house capacity – a new panel of experts by experience expressly for the purpose of supporting this work, and then having the panel nominate two members to take seats on the Expert Group, to represent the views and contributions of the panel. Drawing upon the recent successes of the Poverty and Inequality Commission in setting up an Experts by Experience Panel, this approach could address concerns about adequate diversity, as it could allow up to 20 members to sit on the panel, reflecting a broad cross-section of Scottish society. In this scenario the Scottish Government would provide resource to recruit and support the panel and appropriate reimbursement for people’s time and effort. A potential drawback with this approach is that the required processes for this be established by the Scottish Government may result in a significant amount of time passing before the panel is operational and able to engage with the Expert Group. Equally, while consideration would need to be given to resource and capacity issues, it may take further time to do. Given the expectations that the Expert Group will commence meaningful work in the near future, this may delay or compromise the start of new work strands.

The fourth option is for a range of organisations represented on the Expert Group to draw upon their expertise and resources of their organisations to use in-kind support to set up a panel of experts by experience, designed as in Paragraph 13, but external to the Scottish Government. This panel would then nominate two members to take seats on the Expert Group to represent the views and contributions of the panel. In this scenario the Scottish Government would still be able to reimburse the time and effort of panel members but the time to recruit and support the panel would be provided in-kind by member organisations. This option may allow for quick and collaborative efforts to establish such a panel, and could be taken forward as a work strand by members of the Expert Group. However, this option would place resource burdens on recruiting organisations.

The fifth option would ask the Scottish Government to consider whether financial resources could be provided to tender for an external organisation[s] to recruit, develop and support an experts by experience panel, in relation to poverty and financial insecurity, to sit alongside the expert group. One or two members of this group could be supported to take part in Expert Group meetings and the panel would be an important resource for the group and potentially sub-groups as we make progress in our work. However, this option would have time, cost, resource and staffing implications for the Scottish Government.


That the group considers these options and agrees a path forward at the next meeting of the Expert Group in October.

Workplan discussion paper

This paper is designed to support a discussion on work planning at the first meeting of the Expert Group only in October 2021.

Ways of working

The core Expert Group will meet approximately every two months, with additional meetings to be considered by exception if required. We have already proposed that it will operate as a working group with an expectation that members undertake various pieces of work outside of meetings as required.

The Expert Group has agreed that it will form sub-groups to take forward specific work strands as required. These work-streams may be led by members of the Group who have appropriate expertise or by an invited individual who is not a member of the Group, but who has specific expertise to undertake or lead a particular programme of work.

It is proposed that the Expert Group has an overall workplan, which would set out the meeting schedule and the high level overall timeline for the Group’s work, including sequencing of the workstreams or sub-groups to allow a strategic and manageable approach. Each workstream can develop its own more detailed internal workplan.

Each active workstream should have an agreed lead who will usually be a group member but may, as mentioned above, be an external person with appropriate expertise. They will take responsibility for setting out and delivering upon the workplan for that workstream.

Secretariat support will be provided by the Scottish Government officials to work groups. Capacity permitting, they will arrange and attend meetings, draft papers, ensure information is disseminated and facilitate links with relevant SG policy areas and Ministers.

Workstreams will need to consider as early as possible what their requirements will be in terms of analysis and research. A separate paper is being prepared with options for how the Expert Group may commission such work.

We propose that there will be a standing agenda item on workstreams at full Expert Group meetings, where each active group will report back on its progress and plans, and use the opportunity of the full meeting to make linkages with the wider work of the group. The secretariat will design a highlight report template to ensure that the Expert Group is kept consistently informed of progress on each workstream. The lead of the relevant workstream should complete this. A draft highlight report template, for your views, is included at Annex A.

Annex B contains an outline of proposals for the Expert Group’s workplan, to be discussed by members of the Expert Group during their meeting on 13/10/21. These proposals will be discussed and agreed with members, before a finalised workplan is produced by the Expert Group’s secretariat.

The proposals for the Expert Group’s initial workplan includes the expectation of publishing an interim report between June to September 2022, followed by another report in September 2023, to mark 24 months of the MIG Steering Group’s work and to coincide with a review of the work and membership of said Group.

In addition to this the Expert Group may decide to produce additional stand-alone briefings, or communications, following discussion with the Steering Group, where appropriate and useful.

Annex A: draft highlight report template for work streams

Minimum Income Guarantee Steering Group: highlight report
  • name of work stream:
  • date of report:
  • report completed by (name, role):
  • brief workstream background and priorities:
  • overall work stream timescales:
  • will this work stream be producing advice / recommendations / a report – if so when is this expected?:
  • key highlights since last update to the group:
  • key actions for next two months (or until the next Expert Group meeting):
  • risks:
  • additional comments (if required):

Annex B: proposed workplan content – Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) Expert Group

  1. What are the principles and features of a MIG? (year 1)
  2. At what level should a MIG be set? (year 1)
  • members would need to consider the need for commissioning
  • what should a MIS be in Scotland in general, for different household types in Scotland (including priority families)?
  • any geographical variations
  • should a MIG cover 100% of MIS for all, or less for all (or some)?
  • how should housing, childcare and disability costs be considered as part of a MIG?
  1. How can a MIG be supported through social security? (year 1)
  • how should MIG need be assessed?
  • how should MIG be paid?
  • are there options for a time-limited MIG as part of roll-out?
  • would a pilot or roll-out prioritise some groups first (carers, care experienced, priority families etc.)?
  1. How can a MIG be supported through work? (year 1)
  • what role can reform of work have in delivering a MIG in Scotland?
  • what impact could increased pay and guaranteed hours have on delivering a MIG?
  • what contribution should employers make to a MIG?
  • would a MIG have a depressing effect on wages, and if so from what level?
  1. How much would a MIG cost and what impact would it have? (year 2)
  • commissioning is likely to be required, either Scottish Government or external
  • set out costings for a range of MIG levels and range of designs
  • carry out an analysis of the potential impacts of these on poverty (including priority families), inequality and destitution
  • consider whether any macro-analysis is possible


  1. What progress towards MIG is possible through existing powers? (year 2)
  • consider income adequacy and income security
  • identify steps which could be taken over the next few years
  1. What powers would be required to make progress towards a MIG in the medium-term and to deliver a full MIG in the long-term? (year 2)
  • commissioning is likely to be required, either Scottish Government or external
  • consider legislative powers on social security
  • consider employment law
  • look at pathways to implementation and delivery through different agencies
  • consider tax and borrowing
  1. How could we pay for a MIG? (year 2)
  • commissioning is likely to be required, either Scottish Government or external
  • consider tax and borrowing
  1. Should we pilot a full or partial MIG? (year 2)
  • external commissioning may be required
  • explore the feasibility of piloting a MIG through existing powers
  1. Delivering a MIG – a MIG implementation plan (beyond year 2)
  • first steps to a MIG under existing powers
  • next steps with further flexibility/powers
  • final steps towards a full MIG

Public opinion

  1.  Understanding and shaping public opinion around MIG (throughout)
  • consider the need to commission externally
  • direct experience around MIG
  • explore work being carried out by external organisations
  • identify external organisations that could be well-placed to undertake this work
  • make internal Scottish Government links to support this

Table – workstreams and phasing



Year 1

Year 2








MIG principles





MIG level





Delivering a MIG – social security





Delivering a MIG – work





Cost and impact of MIG










Steps to MIG through existing powers





Further powers to deliver a MIG





Paying for a MIG





Piloting a MIG





A MIG implementation plan





Public opinion





Public opinion around MIG




Summary of public engagement

Executive summary

This executive summary presents key themes arising from a public engagement exercise on the idea of a Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) for Scotland. A total of 49 responses (with 64 replies) were received on the Scottish Government’s dialogue platform between 16 August and 16 September 2021, from 34 individuals and 15 organisations. One additional response was submitted directly to the Scottish Government via email.

The themes are organised into four topics, based on questions users were encouraged to answer as part of their consultation response.

Q1 What do you see as being the key elements of a Minimum Income Guarantee?

  1. There were calls for the independently assessed Minimum Income Standard to be the MIG threshold. However, many simply said the MIG rate should be high enough to tackle poverty and meet the cost of living. Many favoured variable rates to accommodate groups with different needs.
  2. There were different opinions on whether individuals or households should be means-tested. Others felt it was a complex issue, saying the former can be unfair to some groups (e.g. lone-parents), but the latter can create intra-household inequalities.
  3. There were calls for a MIG to be adaptable to fluctuating incomes, to avoid payment delays which can cause people financial difficulties. Many also argued against conditionality, saying, for example, that it has no effect on behaviour.
  4. Some respondents felt that progressive tax reforms should fund a MIG, whilst recognising the Scottish Government has limited powers over taxation.
  5. Some argued that universality should be factored into a MIG, by: (a) making it a stepping stone to a Universal Basic Income (UBI), or (b) expanding existing universal benefits and creating new ones. 
  6. Services in kind were not discussed by many respondents. However, a small number called for more subsidised childcare to help caregivers return to work. Some felt a MIG should be complemented by education and support services e.g. financial education for young people and mental health support.

Q2 What do you see as the main benefits, challenges and risks of a Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland?


  1. A key theme was that a MIG could tackle poverty and provide a better financial safety net than the current system. As a result of reduced poverty, some commented that there would be less health inequality in Scotland.
  2. Many said a MIG would widen access to education for people who cannot currently afford it, and incentivise work e.g. unpaid carers could use the extra money to pay for care services and (re)enter the labour market.
  3. Potential economic benefits of a MIG were discussed. Some said a MIG would: (a) encourage spending, increase tax intake and support jobs, (b) boost new business ventures by lessening the need for substantial early profits, and (c) reduce strain on public services caused by the impacts of poverty.

Challenges and risks

  1. Many respondents commented that the Scottish Government does not have the legislative power to implement a comprehensive MIG, particularly in relation to tax, employment and social security powers.
  2. Several said that a MIG would be unaffordable and damaging economically. It was argued that the cost would be transferred to businesses, discouraging them from operating in Scotland. A small number called for other approaches to tackling poverty, such as fostering education and competitiveness.
  3. A number of responses felt that a MIG would be unfair to taxpayers, and would be a disincentive to work because people would be guaranteed an income.
  4. Many highlighted complexities with means testing e.g. fluctuating wages and lagged payments. Some felt that the associated bureaucracy, and targeted nature of a MIG, could stifle take-up and lead to recipients being stigmatised.
  5. Some cautioned that a MIG could have unintended consequences, like subsidising low-paying employers, private landlords and energy companies.

 Q3 Are there certain groups of people that you think should be given particular attention when thinking about how a Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland should work?

  1. Several responses mentioned low income families, particularly single parents. Some commented that this group are especially likely to be in low-paid, precarious jobs because they can only work limited hours.
  2. Both disabled people and unpaid carers were mentioned frequently. Many said their higher living costs must be factored into a MIG, and highlighted that they face barriers to paid work which make them vulnerable to poverty.
  3. Some highlighted that most single parents and unpaid carers are women, and that women are especially vulnerable to in-work poverty, intra-household inequalities, and labour market discrimination. It was therefore argued that a MIG could disproportionately benefit women if implemented properly.
  4. To a lesser extent, younger people, students, older people, benefits claimants, people in low paid work, migrants, refugees, and ethnic minorities were mentioned. Reasons cited for some or all of these groups include a high risk of poverty, labour market discrimination, and general marginalisation from society.

Q4 What steps should we take first to deliver the Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland?

  1. A prominent theme was the need for trials and studies to be conducted. Many called for consultations with a range of organisations, experts, and groups with lived experience of poverty. There were also calls for pilot studies and analyses of (a) the current benefits system, and (b) existing MIG studies.
  2. Many called for the Scottish Government to increase the value of devolved benefits such as Scottish Child Payment, and to make further use of top-up powers. A number of responses also argued for the real living wage to be extended to everyone in employment.
  3. Several responses felt that a MIG would receive considerable pushback, and that its purpose must be clearly and honestly explained to the public – via education, media, and public awareness campaigns – to broaden support.
  4. A number of respondents argued that the Scottish Government must work closely with the UK Government to enable a MIG, due to interactions between devolved and reserved policy areas. Early co-ordination with local authorities was also cited as being crucial in delivering a MIG.
  5. There were calls for the Scottish Government to reform council tax to generate additional revenue for a MIG.


This report presents an analysis of results from a public engagement exercise on the prospect of a Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) for Scotland. Responses were received on the Scottish Government’s dialogue platform between 16 August and 16 September 2021, and can be viewed at our view sharing platform.

The dialogue platform linked to a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), published in March 2021, proposing what a MIG in Scotland could look like. The platform summarised three key features of the IPPR’s proposals, and explained how the concept of a MIG differs from the related Universal Basic Income (UBI). It then outlined what the Scottish Government is doing to deliver a MIG, including the formulation of a MIG Steering Group made up of experts and MSPs from different parties. Finally, it invited users to share their views on a MIG, explaining that responses and any related comments would be shared with the MIG Steering Group.

The digital platform involved the submission of ‘ideas’ (the terminology used by the engagement platform to describe different types of contributions made by users, including ‘ideas’, ‘comments’ and ‘ratings’, are described in the methodology) by registered users. The contributor had the opportunity to provide a title for their idea, and say ‘why the contribution is important’. Registered users could rate the idea on a five-star scale, and/or provide comments. All contributions to the website were pre-moderated in accordance with the published moderation policy before appearing on the site. The site was visible to members of the public whether or not they registered as users.


A total of 49 ideas on a MIG were posted on the dialogue platform by registered users, and 1 additional idea was submitted via email to the Scottish Government. The ideas posted online received 64 responding comments overall, with 26 ideas receiving at least one comment. The main responses to the consultation were provided by both individuals (n=34) and organisations (n=16), of which:

  • two (2) were identified as being posted by individuals living outside Scotland – one in Finland, the other in an undisclosed location
  • one (1) was identified as being posted by a UK organisation which does not have a base in Scotland

The remaining ideas are from individuals who live in Scotland (n=10) or did not say where they live (n=22) (the content of most of these responses suggests that the users live in Scotland, without saying it explicitly. A minority do not give any indication of where the user is based) and from organisations based solely or partly in Scotland (n=15).

Users were encouraged to address the following questions as part of their ideas:

  1. What do you see as being the key elements of a Minimum Income Guarantee?
  2. What do you see as the main benefits, challenges and risks of a Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland?
  3. Are there certain groups of people that you think should be given particular attention when thinking about how a Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland should work?
  4. What steps should we take first to deliver the Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland? You may wish to think about public services, employment and employers, and social security

While the dialogue was open, these questions were used as topics by the moderation team to guide the analysis process. Based on a read-through of the ideas, the team developed ‘codes’ for a thematic framework, and assigned the codes to the relevant topic. Once the consultation period ended, the moderation team worked with members of the Scottish Government’s Social Research Group to develop the coding framework further.

The subsequent analysis was performed by Scottish Government social researchers, with checks by the moderation team. This involved assigning each idea a unique ‘response number’, then individually coding ideas using the thematic framework. Codes, with accompanying response numbers, were inputted to an Excel database. Each entry (i.e. response number and code) in the database was given a brief note summarising/paraphrasing the section of the idea which was used as a basis for the code - this aided the identification of themes and the writing-up phase.

To identify the prominent themes that emerged from the ideas, codes in the database were aggregated for each of the above topics. The prominence of each theme is mentioned in the results below to give some sense of the frequency with which issues were raised by ideas. Additionally, quotations from original ideas were selected for the report commentary, on the basis that they were relevant to the theme, and, in some instances, representative of other responses on the same issue.

Respondents are self-selecting and do not represent a random sample of the population of Scotland. We did not require evidence of residence in Scotland, or ask people to report their demographic characteristics, so do not have independent evidence of representativeness. It is likely that the group who engaged with the platform were the digitally included and thus this is a reason for caution in interpreting the findings. However, it must be understood the platform was designed to solicit ideas from the public and give them the opportunity to comment on the Scottish Government’s approach, not to measure their attitudes. All quotes used in this report are verbatim, although some have been shortened.

Finally, this analysis does not set out to be a detailed examination of all the ideas and their relative effectiveness or relevance to the issues. This is an overview of what those who engaged with the framework said to us. Given the rapid nature of this analysis, it has not been possible to be comprehensive, or definitively quantify the balance of opinion on the platform. It is one part of the information to be considered by the MIG Steering Group and decision makers in formulating steps towards a MIG in Scotland.

The key elements of a Minimum Income Guarantee

Level of the income floor

The level at which a MIG should be set was discussed in many responses. Most did not suggest a specific rate, but spoke in general terms about the pressing need for a minimum acceptable standard of living which alleviates financial strain and lifts people out of poverty:

 “A minimum Income Guarantee must be set at a high enough rate to ensure that it loosens the grip of poverty on the lives of children, young people and families.”

Some comments stated that the independently assessed Minimum Income Standard should be used to set the level of a MIG. Others pressed that the level needs to match the cost of living, stating that many currently above the low income threshold are not able to make ends meet.

A few respondents argued that a MIG must be stable and secure over time, with one suggesting a mechanism is needed to keep it in line with inflation. Another questioned whether the MIG would compensate for reductions in other benefits (e.g. due to sanctions), and if the MIG itself would be subject to deductions.

The MIG being set at different levels was discussed by numerous respondents. Most were in favour of variable rates, drawing attention to groups with different needs, such as:

  • people with disabilities or long-term health conditions (higher living costs)
  • people who live in remote/island communities (higher living costs)
  • women, who are more likely to be in unpaid caring roles and face intra-household inequalities

However, one respondent felt that (other than by age) the payment should be uniform in order to (a) reduce the unnecessary administration costs associated with differentiation, and (b) avoid an intrusive system which monitors the relationships of people on low incomes.

Design of a Minimum Income Guarantee

While eligibility was not addressed in detail by many respondents, one response did emphasise that it must be as wide as possible, including students and people with no recourse to public funds. Generally, other respondents stated that the MIG should be for everyone:

“A Minimum Income Guarantee should kick in for any household that falls below an income floor, ensuring no household’s income falls below a minimum amount to support a decent standard of living for all.”

Means testing income and method of payment

The treatment of income in the means test received some attention. One respondent highlighted that, for some existing benefits, elements of income are disregarded. They also pointed out that the amount of means-tested benefits a person receives can be reduced in a tapered way as income increases, or can stop abruptly when income reaches a certain level - impacting a claimant’s net increases in income when increasing income from other sources. They called for a balance to be struck to increase the efficacy of a MIG in its stated aims.

Some respondents debated whether means should be tested at an individual or household level. Two respondents called for careful consideration of this issue, saying that: (a) basing the means test on individual income can unfairly benefit people in joint households, and (b) calculating on household level can create intra-household inequalities for some, particularly impacting women.

Other responses underlined these issues. One argued for assessments on households because single parents are treated unfairly otherwise. Others called for the opposite:

“Many social security mechanisms are calculated based on household income. This poses a real issue for women suffering from financial abuse as being unable to have access to their income means they cannot escape their situation.”

Two responses touched on the need to consider how payments are distributed to recipients, noting again the potential for household inequalities. One suggested that if household income is assessed, splitting payments between couples must be considered. Another argued that payments must be to individuals, and that payments relating to children and childcare must be given to the primary caregiver. This response considered the IPPR’s proposed ‘opt-in’ for couples (to a single payment) was inadequate, stating that gendered power dynamics can impact financial decisions to the detriment of women.

Means testing wealth

Some respondents questioned how expenditure, debt, and capital would be treated in the MIG means test, and it was noted how these decisions could impact wealth inequality in society:

“Some means-tested benefits, such as tax credits, disregard capital and only look at taxable income, others disregard some forms capital and have assumed a notional income from other forms of capital. How a means-tested scheme treats capital can have an impact on long term poverty and wealth inequality and will affect both public support and the fairness of the scheme.”

Income fluctuation and conditionality

Other responses called for a system that can adapt to fluctuating incomes (e.g. due to irregular shift patterns) without causing unnecessary delays in payments when people fall below the income threshold, thereby pushing people into financial difficulties:

“There are high numbers of people working on 0-hour contracts. All processes that are set up to ensure a Minimum Income Guarantee must be set up in such a way to respond to these fluctuating and flexible work patterns in such a way as it provides support quickly and does not leave people waiting weeks to receive payments.”

Conditionality was another prominent discussion. Within this, most supported attaching no conditions to a MIG (the idea of no conditions received support in many replies to ideas on the dialogue platform. However, some of the replies (generally against a MIG) argued that conditionality is needed to make sure able people work). Two cited studies indicating that removing conditionality does not impact the employment rate. Other respondents felt that the conditions were not compatible with everyone having a guaranteed income, or with effective poverty reduction. One also highlighted the adverse mental health effects associated with conditionality.

Tax and funding

Some respondents felt that changes should be made to council tax to make it more progressive, and that this would generate revenue for a MIG. Beyond this, though, there was a recognition from a number of respondents that the Scottish Government has a limited capacity to raise additional revenues to fund a MIG. Nevertheless, whether via extra powers or collaboration with the UK government, some emphasised that progressive tax reform was the most effective means of funding a MIG. For example, one suggested that the Scottish Government should seek further powers in order to close tax loopholes and to investigate opportunities around corporation tax – citing the UK’s low corporation tax rate. Another suggested a wealth tax, stating that a 2% tax on assets more than £10 million which could generate £4 billion a year in additional revenues.

Universal payments

There was some discussion on the potential strengths of universal payments. Some felt that while a MIG is commendable, it is inferior to a Universal Basic Income (UBI). One response emphasised that a MIG must be a stepping-stone to a UBI. Another suggested that a mini-UBI (e.g. £20-£50 per week) should be baked into a MIG, and gradually expanded, to create an evidence base for UBI while increasing public buy-in for the idea. Others emphasised that, to achieve a successful MIG, universal payments have to be retained and increased, with new ones added over time:

“Universal and contributory benefits need to play a continuing and enhanced role in social security in Scotland. There must be an investment in universal, contributory and extra-cost benefits as part of any MIG.”

Other suggested features

There were other discussion points on the design of a MIG which were less prominent. For example, it was suggested that the MIG system must be transparent and straightforward to reduce stress amongst recipients, and that there is a need to tailor the application process in a manner that reduces the stigmatisation of those who use it. One respondent pressed the need for a robust system which can deal with over and underpayments efficiently, with a fair and accessible appeals process. Operational aspects of the system (e.g. method of assessment and payment) were also queried by some respondents.

Services in kind and other forms of support

The types of services in kind that may be included as part of a MIG were not discussed by many respondents. However, one suggested that there should be a national childcare entitlement that is free at the point of contact for children over 6 months old – i.e. when Statutory Maternity Pay/Maternity Allowance ends. Another stated that subsidised childcare would be welcome to allow primary caregivers (mostly women) the chance to return to work, but highlighted challenges:

“Giving someone free childcare hours instead of money may not be that useful to them if they are unable to afford the transport to a nursery because there are none near to where they live with spaces available…We need to ensure that staying at home with children is still a viable option for any woman who may want to do that, and that paying lip service to childcare is not used a pretence for denying women economic independence.”

Another respondent argued that services in kind must be universal, like the NHS, in order to reduce problems associated with means tests (e.g. administrative costs, divisiveness). They also cautioned that the provision of ‘free’ services, available only to people in low income households, cannot be used as a reason to reduce the level of the income floor.

Other forms of support that should form part of a MIG were mentioned by a small number (or individual) respondents. Two highlighted the need to lower costs for essential services (e.g. utilities, public transport and broadband), while others called for mental health and debt advice services to be made more accessible. One emphasised the need for extensive technical support and provision of devices (as has been done by in educational settings by councils) to minimise a digital divide. Two responses emphasised a need for wider financial literacy:

“In conjunction with [MIG], my suggestion is that a greater focus be placed on financial education which can help people on lower incomes enjoy a better standard of living than they might do at present without necessarily making compromises.”

The role of work and employment in a Minimum Income Guarantee

A small number of responses highlighted the role of employers. Two called for reliable and secure work with decent pay, whilst another stated that a Real Living Wage should be introduced for all workers without exception. An additional respondent, opposed to a MIG, felt recipients able to work should be obliged to take jobs in their local authorities in return for payment.

The main benefits of a Minimum Income Guarantee

Tackling poverty, the cost of living and financial insecurity

Many felt the reduction of poverty was the biggest potential benefit of a MIG. Some pointed to existing levels of poverty in Scotland, emphasising how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already difficult situation for many, whilst pushing others into financial difficulties.

Many also felt that an effective MIG could help people with the cost of living and reduce financial insecurity. Many stated that, currently, benefits do not provide a decent standard of living, and are an inadequate safety net to absorb financial shocks. Some said the income thresholds for current benefits were too low, marginalising certain groups such as single parents:

“Buying shoes or school uniform or clothes for my kids means I have to cut back on food shopping or find money elsewhere in my limited budget, or alternatively go into further debt. And that’s with me being on an allegedly decent wage.”

Mental health, wellbeing, and health inequalities

A number of responses suggested that, due to decreased financial strain, an adequate MIG would lead to better mental health for many. Three cited the Finnish UBI experiment, which found a link between guaranteed income and positive mental health outcomes. Several respondents also argued that the introduction of a MIG would lead to reduced health inequalities:

“We view a particular benefit in the potential of the policy to help address some of the structural causes of the unequal burden of alcohol harm in society, such as poverty and inequality.”

Individual development and incentives to work

Many respondents felt a MIG would allow people to reach their human potential. Several emphasised that a guaranteed income would widen access to educational opportunities for people who could not otherwise afford it, allowing people on low incomes to change or pursue careers. A small number said that, if extended to students and younger people, a MIG would increase the access to higher education, whilst reducing drop-out rates and the need (for predominantly poorer students) to work while studying, visit foodbanks or take on debt.

A number of respondents argued that a MIG would incentivise many people to work (although it should be noted that several other respondents argued the opposite – see section 'Incentives to work, fairness, and varying needs'). It was commented that the extra income could be used for care services, allowing unpaid carers - including those caring for children – to join the labour market, if that is what they wish. Others highlighted that a MIG could remove the benefits trap and reduce other barriers people face to employment:

“International trials tend to find no impact, or a positive impact, on the likelihood of welfare recipients undertaking paid employment when social security is increased. The Stockton guaranteed income supported work by removing material barriers to full-time employment and giving recipients the emotional and financial capacity for risk.”

Equality and fairness

Some felt a MIG could lead to greater equality and fairness in society, if financed by specific changes to tax policy, or by targeted business regulations aimed at reducing prices and increasing wages. Others focused on the fairness of a targeted payment, as opposed to a universal one, because it helps the people who need it most. Indeed, replying to a respondent advocating a UBI, one commenter disputed the benefits of universal payments, instead arguing that the approach MIG is fairer.

There was also recognition of the general equitability a MIG may bring to marginalised individuals:

“There is an ideal opportunity here for the Scottish Government to write policy which deconstructs the structural barriers (and indeed, the prejudices and cultural obstacles) that prevent people from not only achieving their potential but prevent them from accessing basic living essentials.”

Economic benefits

Tax revenue, spending, and support for businesses

The wider economic benefits of a MIG were also prominent in the discussion (on this theme, it is notable that a substantial proportion of replies to ideas on the dialogue platform debated the potential economic effects of a MIG. Some felt it would have a positive effect on the economy, others argued that it would be negative. These viewpoints are covered in 'Economic benefits' and 'Affordability and the economy'). Several respondents argued that it would provide an effective economic stimulus because it would encourage more spending, and lead to a higher tax intake (e.g. through VAT) and create/protect jobs. Others highlighted the potential multiplier effect of increasing the means of people on low incomes:

“It may be argued that those with low incomes are more likely to spend their income on goods and services, rather than save. At the moment, many low income households struggle to meet the cost of priority debts alone, so not only do they have little or no disposable income, they cannot meet the cost of essential living.”

Two respondents argued that a MIG would support new business ventures by removing the need to generate large profits early on, allowing businesses to grow naturally and sustainably. One detailed how this might contribute to a restructuring of rural economies:

“Small scale enterprises might be able to function initially on a part-time basis, enterprises could grow on local trade - this would be a good alternative to the endless hospitality outlets that are seen as the only option in rural communities, relying on vast visitor numbers and propping up the increasingly negative effects of saturation tourism.”

Reducing the burden on public services

Some respondents suggested that the introduction of a MIG would reduce the high demand and for public services (e.g. the NHS) which result from the social, physical and mental impact of poverty. A small number of responses also suggested that if a MIG was designed in a way which reduced complexities of the current social security system (e.g. by removing conditionality), it could lead to reduced administrative costs.

The main challenges and risks of a Minimum Icomes Guarantee

Legislative power of the Scottish Government

Several respondents emphasised that the Scottish Government would require additional powers to implement a MIG, particularly in relation to tax, employment and social security. It was also pointed out by one respondent that limited powers would affect both cash payments and the provision of services in kind. Most of those who expressed concerns over legislative powers intimated that a comprehensive MIG would not be achievable without further (or full) devolution:

“The biggest practical challenge to introducing a true Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland are the limits to the powers held by the Scottish Government and the ability to work with and take account of reserved tax, social security and wage-setting systems…it is unlikely that the Scottish Government could introduce a full-scale Minimum Income Guarantee unilaterally.”

Affordability and the economy

A number of respondents argued that a MIG is unaffordable. Some pointed to Scotland’s notional deficit (citing the Government Expenditure Revenue Scotland figures) and how it worsened due to the pandemic, arguing that – in light of this - it is not a sensible idea to pursue a MIG. One response questioned the competency of the Scottish Government to meet the costs, stating that government projects usually go over budget and time. Another, who supported a MIG, suggested that affordability is a key challenge, highlighting that governments tend to overspend on different aspects of projects such as infrastructure, delivery and IT.

On a more general level, several respondents felt that a MIG would not be good for the Scottish economy. One response cautioned that people would move to England as a result of the measure, because it would have to be subsidised by working people and businesses. Similarly, another felt that a MIG would act as disincentive for businesses to either move to Scotland or continue operations here, because of increased taxation. A small number of respondents, who were opposed to a MIG, suggested that there were better ways of boosting the economy and mitigating poverty: 

“I understand and agree with the intent, but the money would be better spent fostering education, growth, and competitiveness. If those intended to receive it would be better served with better education and more opportunities to create higher-paying careers for themselves.”

Incentives to work, fairness, and varying needs

A number of respondents felt that a MIG would fund idleness, because with a guaranteed income there would be no impetus to find employment, or to work for a better job (notably, this viewpoint received both support and opposition in replies on the dialogue platform). Others felt that a MIG could act as a disincentive to work if it is not designed carefully. Two responses cited downsides of means testing in this regard, arguing that, as with the current benefits system, variations in tax rates can mean that people working more hours end up with less money than they had before. One response emphasised that there needs to be a fine line between the provision of a robust safety net, and making work pay:

“There are likely to be risks in relation to perception, for example if some MIG recipients appear to be better off (taking into account financial and non-financial aspects of a MIG) than individuals or households not eligible for the MIG. This could lead to a removal of incentives to take on more work or stay in work.”

Several respondents felt that a MIG would be unfair on people who are in employment. One stated that an income re-distribution will only benefit recipients, and not society as a whole. One argued that funding a MIG was not justifiable because some key workers are not paid enough, and that the money would be better spent increasing wages. Some cited the size of Scotland’s existing tax base (mostly these responses did not stipulate the type of tax they were referring to. However, it is likely they meant income tax).

 “Less than half of Scotland's citizens pay any tax at all, therefore one presumes that the burden will fall on the shoulders of higher tax payers who will be even more responsible for funding idleness.”

There was considerable discussion on the challenge of ensuring a MIG is designed to be fair. Some of these challenges have been alluded to earlier in the report (i.e. whether to assess on income or households). Several also underlined the risk of creating an income floor that is too low or that does not account for varying needs. One respondent presented a hypothetical case to make their point, which is reflected in the concerns of others:

“Would this be fair? A single person, given £120 a week, this would be more than adequate for them. If you gave the same amount to a couple, this would maybe just cover their expenses, a family given that amount, would probably be slight or more worse off, and a disabled person, given that amount, could be a great deal worse off.”

Bureaucracy, accessibility and stigma

The challenges and risks of means testing were discussed at length in responses. Within this, there was a consensus means testing is inherently difficult and costly. Some pointed to flaws and difficulties in the current system. Different aspects were mentioned, such as fluctuating wages affecting entitlement, lagged payments, significant over/underpayments, and decisions on assessing capital and wealth alongside income. One respondent questioned the IPPR’s suggested taper rate:

"If a taper rate is included there are likely to be further complications in terms of the interactions between the income tax system and the MIG system, for example when there are changes to the income tax personal allowance or when a claimant’s level of earnings changes.”

Again, a small number of respondents either suggested or argued that universality is better than a targeted approach. One of these detailed the general bureaucracy involved in a MIG:

“Due to the nature of the MIG and the approach to implementation through changes to social security involving many different layers from many different funding streams, and the variations of income standards and needs across Scotland, there is a risk that it could become extremely bureaucratic and, in the process, inaccessible for those who need it.”

A number of responses felt that a targeted approach and the associated bureaucratic nature of a MIG could lead to a system that creates stigma, thereby suppressing take-up. Some emphasised the risk of an inaccessible system, and a need to create an application process that is user friendly, taking into account individual needs (e.g. for those who do not speak English as a first language). One respondent stated that there must be full digital integration to ensure vulnerable people are not cut off from a MIG:

“Digital methods are cheaper and faster at doing the essential work involved with social security. We have provided advice through multiple online methods for years and seen its capacity to accommodate customers that are isolated. However, there is still a risk of leaving those with poor digital literacy or lack of access to devices behind.”

Unintended consequences

Some responses mentioned possible unintended consequences of a MIG. One felt that without tackling low wages and high costs, an income guarantee could subsidise low-paying employers, private landlords and energy companies. Similarly, another said landlords may increase rents if housing costs are factored into a MIG. One respondent, meanwhile, argued that the IPPRs tax proposals may disadvantage people on low incomes:

“The 62% taper of the proposed MIG scheme could have a larger negative effect on the labour supply decisions of low-income people than the potential income tax rates used to finance a BI scheme. Recipients will be affected both by the unearned income effects and the price effects of the new effective tax rates, which will change the net wage rates facing them.”

Two respondents felt that focus on a MIG could divert attention from other important issues. One highlighted that given the Scottish Government does not possess the relevant legislative powers, work to develop a MIG could reduce resources available to implement other, more feasible anti-poverty measures. Another felt that a MIG could inadvertently mask the manifestations of women’s labour market inequality, stating that initiatives such as tackling the causes of the gender pay gap should not be de-prioritised.

Groups to be given particular attention when thinking about how a Minimum Income Guarantee should work

Families and single parents

A number of responses stated that there is a need to focus on low-income families. One cited those listed in the Scottish Government’s Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, due to being at greater risk of poverty – i.e. lone-parent families, families with a disabled adult or child, larger families, minority-ethnic families, families with a child under one, and families where the mother is under 25 years old.

Single parents received particular attention. Some commented that single parents (of whom the vast majority are mothers) are limited in the hours they can work, and need flexible employment, forcing them to accept precarious contracts. Another expanded on the situation single mothers face:

“We know that single mothers are disproportionately vulnerable to in-work poverty, and there can sometimes be issues with how benefits they receive for their children interact with their other benefits.”

Disabled people, people with long-term health issues, and carers

Disabled people were cited frequently, and to a lesser extent people with long-term health issues. A recurring theme was the higher living costs faced by disabled people, which would need to be factored into the level of a MIG, and the fact that disabled people are often unable to work. However, some spoke about the ordeal disabled people are often faced with in the current system, which can be demeaning and hostile – emphasising a need for change.

Unpaid carers (also mostly women) were mentioned regularly due to the additional costs they face in order to provide care, and their high risk of living in poverty. However, some cited other factors. For example, the significant impact of unpaid care on mental health and wellbeing. One cited a study showing the huge savings unpaid carers contribute to the Scottish economy, despite being generally undervalued by the government and society. They went on to explain one way a MIG could redress the inequalities unpaid carers face :

“Minimum Income Guarantee has the potential to transform the lives of many unpaid carers. At present unpaid carers who undertake full-time further or higher education are unable to claim Carer’s Allowance, they may need to make the decision between their education and claiming Carer’s Allowance.”

Young people, students, and older people

Some stated that young people face age discrimination in the current benefits system. Others argued that the discriminatory minimum wage was a reason why young people were often in low paid employment. It was felt that clarity was needed on whether a MIG would tackle age discrimination.

Students were also mentioned by a small number of respondents. It was highlighted that they cannot access Universal Credit, with comments that poorer students can be priced out of education entirely. One respondent called for student support to be a non-means tested bursary, available all year round, which would reduce reliance on loans and debt.

Several respondents emphasised that older people should be prioritised. It was stated that they are particularly vulnerable to poverty, and that some do not claim benefits due to perceived stigma. Another highlighted that people on the full state pension cannot claim Carers Allowance (this is because the Carers Allowance is an income replacement benefit, and pensioners often have state pensions to maintain income) – yet many pensioners are unpaid carers for their loved ones. Another response, acknowledging recent increases to the state pension age for men and women, suggested:

“Any MIG which seeks to include a “pensioner element” should consider that element being introduced at age 60 for all and there should be no work- focussed conditionality, should UC remain in Scotland beyond 2030, for this group.”

Benefits claimants, unemployed people, and people in low paid work

Due to the poverty they face, and the perceived high cost of living, a number of responses said that a MIG should focus on unemployed people and people in low paid work. A small number of responses particularly highlighted the UK government’s recent cut to the Universal Credit uplift, arguing that this will have a negative impact on many claimants.

Migrants, refugees and those with no recourse to public funds (NRPF)

Several respondents cited the high levels of poverty and exclusion from the benefits system faced by many migrants and refugees. It was commented that the barriers faced by migrants means that they are harder to reach and may be less likely to claim benefits that they are entitled to. One response captured the general sentiment with regards to migrants, refugees, and people with NRPF:

“There should also be special attention given to those who have just travelled or fled to Scotland (refugees, migrants etc) as many have experienced trauma or are unable to work due to language barriers or issues with right to work documents. They should be given time and financial support to get onto their feet.”

Ethnic minorities

Those in ethnic minorities were mentioned by some respondents. It was stated that ethnic minority families are at particular risk of poverty, and that ethnic minorities in general have been one of the groups worst affected by ten years of welfare reforms. One respondent pressed the case of ethnic minority women in particular, stating that BAME women face high levels of racial prejudice and discrimination in the labour market, which impacts their ability to secure employment – and are often forced into jobs with low earnings which are now most at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Women are mentioned frequently above due to the difficulties they may face as part of intersectional groups. However, some respondents also focused on difficulties faced by women in general. One, who argued that a MIG must be gendered in design from the outset to be effective, also said:

“As women are more likely to be in poverty, more likely to be in low-paid and insecure work, more likely to have unpaid caring responsibilities and more likely to be reliant on social security, women would disproportionately benefit from the introduction of a MIG.”

Other groups

To a lesser extent, various other groups were highlighted for specific attention due to the unique and difficult circumstances they face. LGBT people, homeless people, care leavers, ex-offenders, travellers, survivors of domestic abuse, rural dwellers and private renters were all mentioned.

Steps the Scottish Government should take first to deliver the Minimum Income Guarantee

Trials and studies
Consultations and engagement

The need for the Scottish Government to begin consultations and engagement with different groups of stakeholders was a key trend in the results. Within this there was a general consensus that engagement should involve both (a) experts and representatives of the different groups, and (b) people within the communities with direct lived experience. Some also emphasised that this engagement must happen from the outset, and that the testimony of these groups must be at the heart of a MIG policy.

Some respondents called for a wide programme of engagement with various groups such as employers, trade unions, community organisations, third sector organisations, industry experts and local authorities. Others, highlighting the complex and difficult experiences faced by some, specifically mentioned consulting the following groups (including representatives) – people with lived experience of poverty, unpaid carers, people unable to work, families and children, young people.

Analysis, evidence review, and information

Many respondents also called for a stronger evidence base derived from a range of analyses and studies, with a general recognition that there are numerous complex issues to be addressed in developing a MIG. Some also emphasised that the Scottish Government must provide more information and detail about what a MIG would look like.

Some called for an examination of the current social security system, to identify problem areas. For example, one respondent said the government must look at the relationship between what is considered a low wage and the cost of living. Other referred to recent cuts and the impact of the pandemic on people living in poverty:

“It may be worth SG considering the impact of the last decade, and most recently the coronavirus emergency, in terms of debts accrued by low income households.”

A small number highlighted the need to examine evidence from other countries, including related pilot schemes such as the Finnish UBI trials. One, highlighting the costs and complexities of means testing, called for the Scottish Government to show the cost difference between a MIG and a UBI before proceeding with developing the former. A limited number of responses also pressed the need for an analysis of the financial implications of a MIG. One felt that operational matters such as payment delivery (frequency, method, flexibility) should be considered at an early stage.

Some responses emphasised the need for pilot studies and modelling to be conducted. To this end, it was felt that different models of a MIG scheme should be tested:

“Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) models should be tested with several experiment groups (e.g. 5 experiment groups). Testing just one group is not enough. There can be different models for MIG…humans are not simple machines and therefore MIG models should be assessed based on several viewpoints.”

One respondent suggested that a MIG should be piloted on those who have had their Universal Credit uplift cut.

Policy development and use of existing powers
Social security policy

It was felt by several respondents that the Scottish Government should take immediate action using existing powers on social security as steps towards a MIG. Many suggested increasing the value of benefits, with mentions of Carers Allowance Supplement, Best Start Grant and the Scottish Welfare Fund. Scottish Child Payment was cited in a number of responses, with calls for it to be doubled and a premium for lone parents to be introduced. Some also suggested top-ups to disability benefits, and one called for a pensioner element of Universal Credit to be introduced, using top-up powers, for people over 60.

Other measures were also mentioned. For example, amending conditionality on Universal Credit (This not currently within the power of the Scottish Government), and making sure Scottish Carer’s Assistance, when it is rolled out, has a wider eligibility than the DWP’s Carer’s Allowance it will replace. A small number also suggested greater use of passported benefits, where appropriate. One, for example, suggested Scottish Carers Assistance could be a passport to other support such as free dental care and glasses, or concessionary care for leisure.

Labour market policy

There was some discussion of steps the Scottish Government should take on labour market policy, which would contribute towards realising a MIG. Within this, a small number called for the introduction of a real living wage for all – and one said that student support levels should be increased to match the living wage.

Two responses called for a greater effort to tackle gender division in the labour market, and systemic inequalities more broadly:

“Not enough is being done to remedy the engrained gendered division of labour that means sectors where women predominate are chronically undervalued. Where other protected characteristics are present, the effects are further compounded.”

They suggested measures such as extending the living wage to female-dominated sectors, improving access to flexible working hours to accommodate childcare and other commitments, and action to ensure people have reliable and stable working hours. Childcare was also cited, with one calling for free hours of early learning and childcare to be increased beyond the recent (welcomed) increase to 1140 hours, and a general expansion of other related services and support.

One respondent suggested specific measures the public sector should take to encourage the private sector to adjust its employment practices:

“The public sector needs to [develop] further expertise in house to provide quality public services (e.g. NHS, Education) and to be able to negotiate contracts from a position of strength/knowledge. The four-day week could be included for such jobs, which would incentivise the private sector to compete for high-skilled labour.”

Public opinion and the value of a MIG

The need to get the public on board with MIG proposals was raised in several responses. Here, there was a consensus that the idea of a MIG would receive considerable pushback, and may have a divisive impact on society. It was felt by some that there would need to be a cultural shift in attitudes to social security, and to the value of unpaid work:

“UK society/culture/public opinion can place a disproportionate amount of value on people ‘working’ in the narrowest sense, and any “unpaid labour’ is seen as less valuable…Public opinion can often be led by the media and what is proposed may not be achieved if the rhetoric perpetuated by the media during the 2010s were to continue.”

It was felt that good information on a MIG, and changes to social security in general, must be clearly and honestly explained to the public – via education, media, and public awareness campaigns - to broaden support and convince everyone that the changes are a good thing . Some felt that the general philosophy and rhetoric of a MIG should focus on its benefits – examples included emphasising that social security is an investment as well as a cost, that government subsidies can support human activeness and promote greater autonomy for individuals.

Co-operation and negotiation with other legislative bodies

A number of respondents pointed out that the Scottish and UK governments must work together to produce a MIG:

“The Scottish and UK Governments will need to work together to enable Scotland to introduce a MIG. There will be many interactions between policy areas, both devolved and reserved, working to together will be essential to identify and deal with these interactions and unintended consequences.”

Other respondents called for the Scottish Government to seek more devolved powers over taxation and social security in order to implement a MIG. Indeed, one respondent called for full devolution in these areas, and received two replies from commenters who supported this position. In this vein, a small number expressed doubts that UK bodies such as the Department of Work and Pensions would work constructively with Scottish agencies to enable the necessary changes.

Some responses also emphasised the pressing need to co-ordinate with local authorities, citing their role as crucial in delivering a MIG:

“In our twice-yearly local government overview reports, we have been clear about the increased pressure and demands on local councils. The impact of implementing and delivering the ambitions of the MIG on council resources must be a key consideration.”

Tax measures

As mentioned earlier in this report, several responses called for changes to taxation as steps towards a full MIG. Within this, there was a general recognition amongst respondents that the Scottish Government is restricted in its ability to generate additional revenue. However, as a measure that could be taken now, some suggested progressive reforms to council tax as a means to generate additional revenue, with the money being used to fund elements of a MIG:

“An earnest reform, that led to property values being reflected more consistently and updated more regularly, could assist those on lower incomes and could offer a more targeted way of providing tax relief to help an individual achieve a MIG. If there were concerns about capacity to pay in cash terms for certain groups, consideration could be given to mechanisms to allow payment deferral, for example.”

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