Minimum Income Guarantee

1.What do you see as being the key elements of a Minimum Income Guarantee? There are three key elements of the Minimum Income Guarantee that we have observed from the information provided. Firstly, it is unlike previous social security measures because it aims to provide a uniform standard across Scotland as opposed to a group outlined by eligibility. It also aims to bring everyone to a certain income level as opposed to providing payments. In addition, it aims to accomplish this through multiple sources of support as opposed to a social security authority. 2.What do you see as the main benefits, challenges and risks of a Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland? As an advice organisation, our chief concerns are the challenges of digital integration and supporting the vulnerable. Digital methods are cheaper and substantially faster at doing the essential administrative 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 and/or have too many commitments for face-to-face advice. However, there is still a substantial risk of leaving those with poor digital literacy or lack of access to devices behind. The withdrawal of older methods can result in isolation and communication breakdown. We suggest that extensive technical support and provision of devices (as has been done by in educational settings by councils) to minimise a digital divide. Vulnerability is a key consideration as certain people will require more help and help in different forms than everyone else. The additional needs of vulnerable people must be considered to prevent unnecessary hardship for them during the process of accessing and benefiting from the MIG. Additional support will need to be prepared to prevent the vulnerable from being cut off from communication, isolated, unable to act or access essential resources/services due to lack of assistance. 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? Although a thorough definition of vulnerability should be used, there are three key groups that should be considered. Firstly, efforts should be made to ensure that the elderly do not face a digital divide or escape notice due to isolation. Secondly, preparations should be made to accommodate those with physical and mental disabilities, ensuring that they do not face unfair disadvantage. Thirdly, extra financial consideration should be made for those in problem debt as income is not the only factor in their financial wellbeing. They should be informed of debt advice and support they can access to ensure that repayment does not bring hardship. 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. Our experiences in giving advice has taught us that planning and knowledge are the best tools for new initiatives. Firstly, the current state of social security in Scotland should be analysed, detailing areas that can be improved. For example, the impact of the £20 increase in Universal Credit withdrawal could reveal the level of reliance on the payment. As has been stated in previous questions, digital inclusion and extra support for the vulnerable must be considered to prevent those with the greatest risk of hardship being left behind. Also, consideration must be made about how this guarantee will be implemented and how each authority involved would coordinate. Finally, a change in social security should be clearly explained to the public. Scots who can benefit from it should know the eligibility, the method of payment, how to communicate with relevant authorities and where they can bring appeals if something goes wrong.

Why the contribution is important

Who are we? We are a Glasgow-based Advice organisation that provides knowledge and guidance to our customers across Scotland. We advise on a wide range of topics including but not limited to Employment, COVID 19, consumer issues, debt, scams, and most relevant to this consultation: Benefits. Our advice covers benefits at all levels, and we have experience with the rollout of Universal Credit by the DWP and the creation of devolved benefits under Social Security Scotland.

by johncraftadvicedirectscotland on August 23, 2021 at 10:15AM

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Comments

  • Posted by C0600077 August 25, 2021 at 11:24

    I'm a UC claimant, and I live in fear of the authority DWP has to make me destitute at their whim. Combined with their public record of sanctioning people with no "good reason" (as if there is *ever* a good reason to make someone destitute in our rich society). I'm also looking into becoming self-employed, however, the "minimum income floor" rules make me afraid of doing this. Despite the double-speak name, the rules do not provide any kind of minimum floor for income. What it DOES do is take benefits from people if their self-employment has not yet achieved the minimum wage pay rate. There isn't even a "minimum floor" to how much they can take from you on these grounds as far as I can tell. The UC system is based on a morally puritanical response to the fiction proposed about the British public in "Britannia Unchained". That the British people are fundamentally lazy, and undeserving, and that it is morally right, or at least justifiable, to bully them for 'the greater good'. On top of being vile, this approach doesn't even work. Indeed, the introduction of UC has not increased the ability of those who are out of gainfully paid employment to find work. The only statistically significant effect of UC is its damage to the mental health of claimants - an effect I feel every day. We need to do better and provide genuine social security. The UC system is NOT social security. It is government-enforced precarity, instituted by the party that benefits in votes from general precarity (it is easier to drum up racial bigotry when people are existentially uncercertain), and represents doners who benefit from a beleaguered and terrified workforce. When the same doners are not too busy benefiting from free labour in the form of revolving door "work fair", that is. A minimum income guarantee should ABSOLUTELY be looked at and worked towards. Furthermore, we should structure progress towards such proposals in a way that will provide interim benefit and respite to those currently being abused by the UK social precarity system. Obviously, there is a limit to what ScotGov can do with its current funds and powers but please consider this whenever possible. Also; we need to win "hearts and minds" on this cluster of issues. The tory-media-industrial complex, backed up by American media, have produced endless fictitious drivel about all the negatives of social security for decades now. This is a clear attempt to destroy the post-war settlement. ScotGov should seek to document the tales of those who are struggling under the current social precarity system. Push back against the purile BS put out by FOX, GB news, the daily mail, et al. If we don't win the argument, then any advances made during the current period of relative power will merely be perverted and eroded in the future. Just look at how job seeker's allowance, an opt-in scheme to incentivise job seeking, became our current system of bullying and coercion at literally the first opportunity. sorry for this overlong comment... I feel a little better having got that out there. It's easy to feel gaslighted when dealing with DWP, and therefore liberating to be able to tell it like you see it for once.
  • Posted by Jane789 September 15, 2021 at 20:55

    The experience of covid 19 and how the DWP treats those on universal credit and those who don't qualify for benefits is a disgrace. It adds to the problems of mental health such as anxiety and depression when people are already depressed from not being able to see their loved ones in care homes and not being able to visit loved ones in hospital. People just want a minimum income so they can eat, heat, mobile phone bill, broadband bill, pay council tax, credit card debts, store card debts, although for some of this people should go to the Citizens Advice Bureau. The Tory UK Government have forgotten that some small business can't afford to ask the staff to work longer ours and some UC claimants can't afford to ask someone to look after their children or be a carer for someone else in their family. UK Government have it totally wrong, bring in the Scottish Government.
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