Support for Minimum Income Guarantee but warning not to overlook help for families
16 September 2021
Children in Scotland has responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the introduction of a Minimum Income Guarantee with cautious support whilst warning it must not overshadow work to support families now.
Our view is that ensuring children, young people and families have the financial resources to survive must be the priority for a Minimum Income Guarantee, but work to progress it must not come at the expense of supporting families in the immediate term.
Broadly supportive of the aims, we recognise the Minimum Income Guarantee could provide a baseline for basic living costs and an income which covers these.
We also acknowledge the importance of a stable income in addressing food insecurity and supporting mental health.
However, we have warned the Minimum Income Guarantee must not adopt the same five-week waiting period as Universal Credit and must be set up in a way to respond to flexible and fluctuating work patterns.
We have urged the Scottish Government to take forward a series of calls made as part of both the Children in Scotland and End Child Poverty coalition’s manifestos, which we believe should be considered as elements of the Minimum Income Guarantee. This includes:
- Doubling the Scottish Child Payment as quickly as possible
- Ensuring every worker is paid a real living wage by the end of the next parliament, and
- Applying a rights-based approach to anti-poverty policies, reflecting lived experiences of those living in poverty.
Amy Woodhouse, Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, said:
“We are broadly supportive of the Minimum Income Guarantee but work cannot come at the expense of immediate and urgent action required to ensure children, young people and families have the basic income they need.
“As a member of the End Child Poverty coalition, we have been calling for the Scottish Government to commit to doubling the Scottish Child Payment – a call which has not yet been taken forward.
“We urge the Scottish Government to prioritise calls from both the Children in Scotland and End Child Poverty coalition manifesto’s. Addressing these priorities would not only help families now, but would lay the groundwork for realising the success of a Minimum Income Guarantee."
In the consultation, Children in Scotland suggest the next steps for the the Scottish Government should be to proactively engage with the children’s sector, as well as directly with children, young people and families, to inform development.