Economic security: A foundation for dignity, opportunity and hope in an age of uncertainty
This briefing argues for far-reaching social reform to expand economic security, increase people’s control over key aspects of their lives, and catalyse their social and economic contribution. It must respond to immediate everyday concerns, but also the longer-range issues undermining many households.
To be and to feel economically secure is to live with dignity, to be able to seize opportunities and to have a sense of hope for the future. That requires sufficient and predictable resources, of income and wealth, in relation to the costs and burdens of life. But it also rests on secure work and a secure home, on education, on good health, and on support and time for caring. It is sustained by relationships of family, friends and community.
This briefing aims to offer a sense of purpose, direction and orientation for social reform, around the following shifts:
- Raising the floor of employment security and enhancing control at work, alongside improving financial protection if people lose their job or cannot work for a period.
- Offering help and space for those looking for work to find a secure job that sticks, while making work possible and desirable for those outside the labour market.
- Expanding access to secure homes, whether rented or owned, via interventions to build more new homes and shift the distribution of existing homes.
- Protecting time for families and for caring around working life, while building up and strengthening the infrastructure of care services that families can rely on.
- Ensuring social security provides sufficient income to afford the essentials, alongside forging a ‘social safety net’ of crisis support, practical help and social connection where people live.
- Helping people accrue modest savings, access affordable credit, gain relief from problem debt and hold assets (especially those without access to family wealth).
- Putting future pension provision on a more secure footing, by raising minimum contribution rates and reforming the decumulation phase so not all the risks to retirement incomes resting on individuals.