A stronger Scottish lifeline in the economic storm

As we emerge from lockdown, we need to act to prevent and reduce poverty as the economic storm clouds gather this autumn.

This briefing sets out how to create a stronger Scottish lifeline covering jobs, housing and social security.

Recommendations

  • A jobs lifeline: The Scottish Government should work with employers to create good jobs by boosting the long-term supply of affordable homes and the quality of care work. It should go further than the Kickstart scheme to ensure young people work for at least twelve months, and should extend a jobs lifeline to over-25s. Employment and training support should be conditional on paying the real living wage with training and targeted to at-risk sectors with high rates of in-work poverty. Employment programmes for low-income parents and disabled people should be scaled up to help meet interim child poverty targets by 2023-24.
  • A housing lifeline: The Scottish Government should act quickly to avoid a potential autumn spike in evictions. Legal protections should be extended until September 2021 and pre-action measures put in place to ensure genuinely affordable repayment plans are made. Government should prepare to step in where tenants are independently assessed as being unable to pay. How well Discretionary Housing Payments and the Scottish Welfare Fund are meeting need should be gauged, and loan finance for landlords should be tied to high standards on maintenance, energy efficiency and affordability.
  • An income lifeline: Further action is needed to stabilise family incomes between schools returning in August and the delayed start of the Scottish Child Payment. The Scottish Government should bring forward feasible options to pay £10 per week to each eligible child for a six-month period to help families pull through the economic storm.

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