Attendees and apologies
- Russell Gunson, Chair, Head of Programmes and Practice, The Robertson Trust
- Ben Harrison, Director, The Work Foundation
- Catherine Murphy, Executive Director, Engender
- Eireann McAuley, Policy Officer, Scottish Trade Union Congress
- Fiona Collie, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Carers Scotland
- Gerard McCartney, Professor of Wellbeing Economy, University of Glasgow
- John Dickie, Director, Child Poverty Action Group
- Mubin Haq, Chief Executive, abrdn Financial Fairness Trust
- Peter Kelly, Director, Poverty Alliance
- Philip Whyte, Director, Institute for Public Policy Research
- Ruth Steele, Social Security Futures Unit Head, Scottish Government
- Satwat Reham, Chief Executive, One Parent Families Scotland
- Tressa Burke, Chief Executive, Glasgow Disability Alliance
Expert by Experience Panel
- Florence, Expert by Experience Panel member
- Joele, Expert by Experience Panel member
- Amanda Shaw, Minimum Income Guarantee Policy Officer, Scottish Government
- Caitlin Forsyth, Minimum Income Guarantee Policy Manager, Scottish Government
- Nicola Cowan, Minimum Income Guarantee Policy Support Officer, Scottish Government
- Rebecca Darge, Minimum Income Guarantee Team Leader, Scottish Government
- Seona Carnegie, Minimum Income Guarantee Policy Manager, Scottish Government
- Louise MacAllister, Engagement Lead, Involve
- Lynsey McCulloch, Assistant Economist, Scottish Government
- Jim Bowie, Economic Advisor, Scottish Government
- Anne Sheils, Tackling Inequalities Team Lead, Scottish Government
- Evelyn Bowes, Principal Research Officer, Scottish Government
- Jane Watson, Product Owner, Scottish Government
- Peter Wilson, Team Support Officer, Social Security Scotland
- Andy White, Senior Officer, Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership
- Chris Birt, Associate Director, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
- Kirsty McNeill, Policy and Research Officer, Coalition for Racial and Equality Rights
Items and actions
- Secretariat to develop a route map that sets out the steps towards 75% and 100%. Modelling and greater detail should be focused on the MIG that can be achieved in the foreseeable future.
- Secretariat to develop a paper on more generous social security systems and the impacts they have on the labour market.
- Secretariat to build consideration of tapers alongside work incentives into the work plan and discuss with analysts
- Secretariat to develop the positive narrative around a MIG, and ensure that a MIG can be communicated and understood by the public – including the name.
- Secretariat to develop further proposals around individual and household assessment options for workstream 2 and set a deadline for decision.
- Secretariat to research housing costs for disabled people and ensure it is built into the final report.
- Secretariat to conduct further research on those on precarious incomes in relation to housing.
- Secretariat to circulate proposed decision required for MIG and mortgage holders to get feedback from members.
- Secretariat to plan out decisions by correspondence and in person and circulate to the group early in the new year for feedback to see if this is the correct approach.
The Chair welcomed all members to the meeting and introductions were complete.
Expert by Experience (EbE) Panel
Involve gave an overview of the last panel meeting which focused on the level of a Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG), this is the income floor that nobody should fall below under.
There were a lot of different views on what the MIG level should be, but around 75% of the Minimum Income Standard is the preference as 50% would be too low and would not improve things for those currently in poverty and experiencing hardship.
Concerns if the MIG level is set too high then it might be a disincentive to work.
Minimum Income Guarantee level
An overview of the evidence to support Expert Group member’s decision making was provided which was followed by an overview by Scottish Government analysts who provided detail on the modelling provided.
Members were invited to comment:
- Need to recommend a MIG level that is potentially achievable – 100% is aspirational but broad recognition that it is not affordable for the Scottish Government at this time. There was broad consensus that 100% of MIS should be the long-term aspiration for a MIG but that it may need to start lower than that. Equally, a body established to set the MIG level may move away from MIS in the future.
- Core principles were established in the interim report, we need to ensure that those are covered by the level we set.
- It was highlighted that the labour market looks different depending on where you live, there’s a lot of arguments that a MIG would not be a disincentive to work and these should be highlighted in the full report.
- Expert Group members wanted to develop their understanding around whether a more adequate of social security acts as a disincentive to work vs. the current system, which does not support people into sustainable employment.
- Need to be mindful on what the level means to the individual, in terms of standard of living, rather than solely the costs to deliver. This should relate back to the aims and the principles of a Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG).
- Hard to see how we can set a MIG that is less than the equivalent of 100% of the Minimum Income Standard. Suggestions of putting in a route map in place to get change. Potential for interim ambitions within that that would set stretching ambitions grounded in the foreseeable future rather than the very long-term.
- Tapers are seen as a fundamental part of the MIG’s design to ensure that there is no cliff edge in entitlement once entering employment.
- Assessments on protected characteristic groups is required
DECISION: The aspirational level in the longer term for the MIG is 100% of the Minimum Income Standard. The initial MIG level should aim to reach 75% of the Minimum Income Standard, with work now to progress to understand feasibility.
DECISION: A route map will be included in the full report which sets out the necessary steps towards a full MIG. Modelling and greater detail should be focused on what we think we can achieve within the foreseeable future.
DECISION: A MIG should have a taper rate, with greater understanding of how this will work alongside employment to ensure that families are better off through work
DECISION: Higher costs faced by all the protected characteristics should be considered and impacts should be included in the full report.
ACTION: Secretariat to develop a route map that sets out the steps towards 75% and 100%. Modelling and greater detail should be focused on the MIG that can be achieved in the foreseeable future.
ACTION: Secretariat to develop a paper on more generous social security systems and the impacts they have on the labour market.
ACTION: Secretariat to build consideration of tapers alongside work incentives into the work plan and discuss with analysts
ACTION: Secretariat to develop the positive narrative around a MIG, and ensure that a MIG can be communicated and understood by the public – including the name.
Household or Individual Assessment
- Scottish Government have committed to split payments of Universal Credit, this principle should align with our proposals for a MIG.
- From a design point of view, not possible for the Expert Group to fully consider all of the implications of a household vs. individual assessment. However, the Group agreed they could benefit from further analysis to support a decision on their ultimate position on this issue. It was agreed to continue to work, alongside this analysis, on an assumption of a household assessment, given time constraints.
- It was broadly recognised that the full report may just be able to articulate a position for the Scottish Government to consider further in terms of design and feasibility, given time constraints and the complexity of this issue. An issue was raised that if there was to be a split payment equally between adults in a household, this carries a risk that women (in a 'traditional' man/woman/children household) carries the household and child costs out of their own individual payment.
- In terms of split payment, there are a lot of complexity now around blended families and formal and informal payments between parents etc - it isn't clear how this will be accounted for.
- Household level assessment also means that reassessment/means testing will be more complicated and could create perverse incentives for people to maintain two addresses.
DECISION: Agreed to undertake more work to understand the impact of a MIG being based on an individual or household assessment, whilst continuing to work based on the household assessment option for now, given time constraints.
ACTION: Secretariat to develop further proposals around individual and household assessment options for workstream 2 and set a deadline for decision.
Housing element of a MIG
An overview of the paper and decisions required was provided.
Members were invited to comment:
- The paper is missing housing costs for disabled people.
- The group should consider a strong housing recommendation in the final report while appreciating the MIG itself won’t solve the housing crisis, need to make sure that relationship between housing and living with dignity is recognised.
- Further research is required on housing for those on precarious incomes.
- Housing Benefit is still reserved, need to understand interactions between that and a MIG.
- Thinking of MIG of not just social security but on cost, what’s the most effective way to ensure people can afford adequate housing or increase affordable housing.
- There is a risk that we just put more money into the pockets of private landlords through a housing payment without more fundamental changes to housing supply and ownership
- MIG needs to cover mortgage holders in some shape or form. Decision taken to correspondence.
DECISION: A Housing Payment should form part of the MIG full report.
ACTION: Secretariat to research housing costs for disabled people and ensure it is built into the final report.
ACTION: Secretariat to conduct further research on those on precarious incomes in relation to housing.
ACTION: Secretariat to circulate proposed decision required for MIG and mortgage holders to get feedback from members.
Summary of work completed in phase one and update on phase two
Each of the workstream chairs provided the group with a summary of the work completed and what is still to come.
A Secretariat member gave an overview of the workplan and tasks, and highlighted we have not updated the decision log, but this will be circulated in due course along with the Definition of Done. During January, the Secretariat will be plotting out the decisions made for the skeleton report.
It was flagged that we are aware of the scale and pace of the decisions that will be required and welcome views on how this could be managed.
Concerns were raised about the expectation of work that will need to be completed by correspondence due to capacity and busy organisations,. Secretariat reassured members that we can plot out decisions by correspondence and in person and circulate to get views on this.
ACTION: Secretariat to plan out decisions by correspondence and in person and circulate to the group early in the new year for feedback to see if this is the correct approach.
Scottish Government update
Scottish Government representative provided an update on the ninth series of the Building a New Scotland paper.
Any other business
The Chair thanked everyone for their contributions and for panel members attending.
There was no other business raised.
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