Delivering an Income Supplement in Scotland

by Jim McCormick and Emma Congreve (JRF), Russell Gunson and Rachel Statham (IPPR Scotland)

How can we maximise the effect of the Scottish Government’s proposed Income Supplement, and help as many people as possible break free from poverty?

This briefing outlines key questions for the new Income Supplement, ahead of Scottish Government plans for design and delivery of the Income Supplement. 

To help stop people going under, the supplement must incorporate:

  • Urgency: start early, in this Parliament. Start small if necessary and build up. The Programme for Government and the next Scottish Budget are crucial to enable this. 
  • Predictability: high levels of predictability are highly valued by those with experience of the Social Security system. This should mean that reassessments are not over-frequent so that the payment can be a reliable source of income.
  • High take-up: Income Supplement must reach those in need. The application process should be accessible, straight-forward and automated if possible.  
  • Poverty depth: to change children’s lives we need to ensure we tackle depth of poverty. Income Supplement should include a focus on those in deepest poverty, and families we know have the highest poverty risk, to have impact.
  • Ambition: significant investment is needed to reduce child poverty. Whilst this cannot all be done by social security, it must play its full part.
  • Impact: we have assessed a number of options for impact on child poverty and cost. We believe cost effectiveness is an important principle to ensure the maximum number of children are taken out of poverty.

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