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Would a minimum income guarantee create a fairer workplace? Part two

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The Scottish government is considering plans to introduce a minimum income guarantee (MIG).

Unlike a universal basic income (UBI), the MIG would be targeted at those on lower incomes rather than available to all and is intended to ensure that everyone has enough money for housing, food, essentials and covering individual circumstances like disability or caring requirements.

It would also top up Universal Credit (UC) allowances and the wages of those on reduced hours to ensure a basic standard of living. Though it sounds promising, could an MIG reduce employer responsibility for creating fairer workplaces?

 

Emma Isichei, chief marketing officer, MHR International

Continually reviewing social policies is essential when ensuring they are fit for purpose, but it is also key for governments to ensure they remain focused on their responsibility within the employment landscape, ensuring workplaces are fair and accessible when considering minimum standards of living.

To create a long-term solution, governments should continue to focus their efforts and resources on creating accessible pathways to work through apprenticeships and inclusivity initiatives, in addition to attracting new businesses to their areas to support local economies.

Employers have a key responsibility and should lead the way in improving standards of living; reviewing their working approaches, ensuring their environments are inclusive and accessible, in addition to ensuring renumeration packages are fair, supporting prosperity, health and wellbeing in its employees and the wider community.

 

Neil Cowan, policy and campaigns manager, The Poverty Alliance

The Scottish government’s commitment to developing and implementing a minimum income guarantee is a hugely welcome step. When delivered, such a guarantee – through a combination of social security payments and well-paid, secure work – will loosen the grip of poverty on people across Scotland.

It is critical, though, that in developing this long-term vision for a minimum income guarantee we do not lose sight of the steps that can be taken right now to boost people’s incomes and protect them from poverty. That includes the Scottish government committing to doubling the Scottish Child Payment – a new £10 per week per child benefit for low-income families – this year.

 

Check out part one of this hot topic here.

This piece appeared in the September/October 2021 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk.