Minimum Income Guarantee Steering Group minutes: September 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 27 September 2023.

Attendees and apologies

Expert by Experience Panel

  • Ian, Expert by Experience Panel Member
  • Jen, Expert by Experience Panel Member
  • Pauline, Expert by Experience Panel Member 
  • Rosann, Expert by Experience Panel Member

Strategy Group

  • Shirley-Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Co-Chair
  • Caron Lindsay, Scottish Liberal Democrats

Expert Group

  • Russell Gunson, Co-Chair, Head of Programmes and Practice, The Robertson Trust
  • Andy White, Senior Officer, Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership
  • Ben Harrison, Director, The Work Foundation
  • Bill Scott, Senior Policy, Inclusion Scotland
  • Chris Birt, Associate Director, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  •  Joe McCready, Public Affairs Officer, Carers Scotland
  •  John Dickie, Director, Child Poverty Action Group
  • Peter Kelly, Director, Poverty Alliance
  • Philip Whyte, Director, Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Ruth Boyle, Policy and Campaigns Manager, Poverty Alliance
  • Ruth Steele, Head of Social Security Futures, Scottish Government
  • Tressa Burke, Chief Executive, Glasgow Disability Alliance


  • Rebecca Darge, Minimum Income Guarantee Team Leader, Scottish Government 
  • Amanda Shaw, Minimum Income Guarantee Policy Officer, Scottish Government
  • Caitlin Forsyth, Minimum Income Guarantee Policy Manager, Scottish Government
  • Seona Carnegie, Minimum Income Guarantee Policy Manager, Scottish Government


  • Dominic Mellan, Economic Advisor, Scottish Government 
  • Louise MacAllister, Engagement Lead, Involve
  • Jim Bowie, Economic Advisor, Scottish Government


  • Claire Renton, Deputy Director of Employability, Scottish Government
  • Elaine Moir, Head of Financial Wellbeing Unit, Scottish Government
  • Ethan Hood, Assistant Economist, Scottish Government
  • Evelyn Bowes, Principal Research Officer, Scottish Government
  • Lynsey McCulloch, Assistant Economist, Scottish Government
  • Peter Wilson, Team Support Officer, Social Security Scotland


  • Catherine Murphy, Executive Director, Engender
  • Fiona Collie, Carers Scotland (Joe McCready is deputising)
  • Gerard McCartney, University of Glasgow
  • Miles Briggs MSP, Scottish Conservative Party
  • Mubin Haq, Chief Executive, ABRDN Financial Fairness Trust
  • Paul O’Kane MSP, Scottish Labour Party

Items and actions


  • Payments that are intended to cover the additional costs to individuals, such as Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment to be removed from modelling.

  • The Expert Group to write to the Scottish Government to formally accept the suggestion to explore a Minimum Income Guarantee for carers included in the 2023 Programme for Government.

  • Payment that are intended to cover the additional costs to individuals, such as CDP and ADP to be removed from modelling.

Welcome and introductions

The Cabinet Secretary welcomed members to the meeting and introduced new members and Expert by Experience members. She reiterated the Scottish Government’s commitment to developing a Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) and briefly outlined the references to a MIG in this year’s Programme for Government. The Cabinet Secretary welcomed the members of the Experts by Experience panel and spoke of the importance of hearing from those with lived experience.

Expert by Experience Panel update

Involve presented an outline of the purpose of the Experts by Experience panel, approach to the work, progress to date and plans for future sessions. The Expert by Experience Panel members were invited to share their reasons for joining the panel and reflections on the sessions they have attended so far. Steering Group members agreed how important their participation was to the development of a MIG.

Overview of Expert Group workplan

An overview of the workplan and tools to support progress of the Expert Group (see MIG workplan, action log, decision log, and definition of done papers). Phase one was about building the foundations but from here the Expert Group need to make the key decisions that will shape a MIG. It was highlighted that the timeline currently has publication of the final report for late 2024 but may be dependent on the timing of the UK General Election.

Members were invited to comment on the workplan prior to signing this off.

  • a question was raised on what activities the Expert Group would need to prioritise or delay if the timeline is impacted by the UK GE. Within this process there may not be much space to bring work forward as the workplan is tight already. It is more likely that the report would be pushed back to avoid publication during the election period
  • all members of the Strategy Group should start building public opinion from now and raise the understanding of why a MIG is necessary. Once the Expert Group have more to share and a clearer direction for the policy, this can be publicised this more
  • challenge Poverty week begins on 2nd October and the Poverty Alliance will begin using this as an opportunity to raise awareness of a MIG. A conference on this will also take place in November
  • part of the work of workstream 3 is to produce some materials that can be used by members to lead these conversations within their network, these are in draft but will be shared with the workstream for comment in due course
  • would welcome more diversity to the conversation, potentially from academics out with Scotland. It would be helpful to consider any international examples to draw from

DECISION: The phase two workplan was agreed.

The Cabinet Secretary thanked members for their participation today and the Strategy Group members left the meeting.

15:00 Strategy Group leave the meeting

Actions Agreed by Expert Group

  • Payments that are intended to cover the additional costs to individuals, such as Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment to be removed from modelling.
  • The Expert Group to write to the Scottish Government to formally accept the suggestion to explore a Minimum Income Guarantee for carers included in the 2023 Programme for Government.

MIG priority household and level scope


Overview of the MIG household type and level scoping papers provided. The papers will set out the plans for the research which will inform the research to make a decision on the MIG level in November/December. The first set of decisions will allow SG analysts to proceed with modelling.


  • pleased to see the inclusion of unpaid carers
  • research on disability benefits needs to be prioritised
  • general concern over the UKG plans to scrap the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which means claimants will be at least £45 a week worse off and lead more claimants into the sanctions regime
  • single adult households will be included in the modelling as planned. Recommended that the Expert Group do not let the complexity of extra costs to put us off, suggested that the Expert Group needs to be thoughtful and should attempt to model. The MIS does not have research on the additional costs for disabled households but SCOPE do have some helpful materials that can be used
  • probably right not to look at a MIG that also covers additional costs, for example in relation to disability, but that additional costs are addressed through additional disability payments (and likewise rent, childcare etc.). It’s there that the adequacy of those payments needs to be addressed. The Expert Group could potentially recommend that this research takes place to understand what genuine additional cost levels are for disabled people and others
  • this paper highlights the first steps to unpack some challenging decisions, the Expert Group needs to consider equality issues much more widely
  • would like to see LGBT+ and women’s modelling included but can’t likely do this through numbers-based analysis due to the level of data available and given it’s household analysis The impact on these groups cannot be ignored so research will be undertaken to understand the wider equalities impacts across the work
  • noted that MIS household types are the primary drivers for cost and the Expert Group should use these
  • it was noted that the assessment for disability allowance, specifically ESA needs to be reconsidered. The Expert Group will look to learn lessons from the current system when it comes to considering how assessment for a MIG payment works
  • there is an alignment with the Work Foundation’s recent work although they look at slightly different worker groups/ household types. Support and evidence to explore this further was offered

DECISION: Agreed that Scottish Government analysts will use the MIS household types for the MIG modelling.

DECISION: Agreed that additional analysis of the impact of a MIG level on priority groups noted in the household paper are included.

Level Scope

SG analysts presented an overview of their early analysis and a microsimulation of the MIG level. The Expert Group were invited to comment.

  • there isn’t a MIS for disabled households and so this is not currently included in the modelling, this relates to the earlier conversation on households to be modelled. This research is largely to get a starting point that the Expert Group will take forward. Looking at the adequacy for disability payment will be a separate piece of work likely for beyond the Expert Group
  • noted that rent, travel and food were among the highest costs for most households. Within the scope of the modelling, has the role of the private sector been considered? Highlighted that free bus travel for under 22s has been transformative. Must look at profiteering to understand the costs of a MIG. The Expert Group do not want to subsidise the private sector. Noted that the Expert Group will look to make recommendations in relation to work and costs of essentials and some of this can be considered using the model but are likely unable to fully investigate the private sector driving the cost of living
  • IPPR’s analysis shows that 75% of the MIS roughly equates to the relative poverty line. Noted that childcare costs are normally excluded from this modelling, SG analysts confirmed that childcare costs are not and can be removed
  • there was agreement that Child Disability Payment (CDP), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance (AA), Adult Disability Payment (ADP) Carers Allowance or Carers Allowance Supplement (CAS) are removed from the modelling

ACTION: Payment that are intended to cover the additional costs to individuals, such as CDP and ADP to be removed from modelling.

DECISION: Agreed that MIG level for modelling should be 50/75/100% of the Minimum Income Standard.

DECISION: Scope of the analysis on household incomes in the level paper agreed.

DECISION: Costing provided through the analysis agreed as being enough for an initial decision on MIG level.

Any other business

Expert Group discussed plans for final report.

Letter for Cab Sec in response to the interim report

This was shared ahead of the meeting for information, members are welcome to provide feedback over email.

Letter from Cab Sec on Programme for Government 2023

The progress so far was welcomed in the PfG. This also included an ask to work with the Expert Group on a MIG level or pilot for carers. This could be a standalone piece of work, however it might be an option for a pilot group.

ACTION: The Expert Group to write to the Scottish Government to formally accept the suggestion to explore a Minimum Income Guarantee for carers included in the 2023 Programme for Government.

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