Could Scots be guaranteed a minimum income?

The Scottish government is to start work on plans for a “minimum income guarantee” aimed at reducing poverty and inequality.

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison is to chair a cross-party steering group to push forward proposals for the “innovative, bold and radical” policy.

How would the plans work, how much could it cost, and when is it likely to be delivered?

A Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) would aim to provide everyone in Scotland with a minimum acceptable standard of living – so that everyone has enough money for housing, food and essentials as well as covering individual circumstances like disability or caring requirements.

Studies were actually run during the previous Holyrood term of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) – a sweeping scheme which would see cash paid out to everyone, regardless of income or wealth. Proponents say this could cut poverty and welfare bureaucracy – but it would be expensive, and require buy-in from both the Scottish and UK governments.

An MIG differs from a UBI in important ways. Crucially, it is targeted at those on lower incomes, rather than being universal.

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