04/06/2014 – The Poverty Alliance has responded to the report published today by the Expert Working Group on Welfare Reform. The Group was established to advise the Scottish Government on the principles that should underpin the welfare system in an independent Scotland. Their first report looked at the practicalities of delivering pensions and social security payments.
The report published today looks at the kind of social security system as independent Scotland should have. The report offers guidance on how to build a fairer system and offers an important contribution to the debate on what an independent Scotland might look like.
The report recommends that the social security system maximises the life chances of all individuals and should be based on three overarching principles: it should be fair, personal and simple.
Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, said today:
“I welcome today’s report by the Expert Working Group.
“At the core of any social security system must be the need to treat people with dignity and respect. This is true regardless of whether power remains in Westminster or if Scotland votes ‘Yes’. By putting dignity and respect at the heart of their recommendations, the Expert Working Group has set out a challenge for all politicians, whether or not they support independence.
“Proposals for a new ‘Social Security Allowance’ will need to be considered in detail, but it is essential that any new benefits genuinely provide an adequate minimum income that can lift people out of poverty. There can be no clearer sign that a welfare system is treating people with dignity and respect than by ensuring that everyone has enough to live on.
“We are pleased to see the Expert Group make the link between provision of a decent welfare system and measures to address in-work poverty. If we are to have a system that provides dignity for unemployed people, we need also to ensure that more is done to secure better conditions for those in low paid work, and that means more action on the minimum wage.
“The publication of this report should provide a new focus for more debate on the kind of Scotland we want to live in and how we achieve this.
For more information contact Carla McCormack, Policy and Parliamentary Officer on 01413530440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org