Former Scottish government advisor calls for more action on social security

01 November 2019

Naomi Eisenstadt, Former Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality and Trustee of Standard Life Foundation, today commended the progress made by the Scottish government on social security, but called on them to do more to put their words into action.

Ms Eisenstadt was joined by Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP at an event run by IPPR Scotland and Standard Life Foundation to consider how Scotland can use its powers to tackle financial insecurity and improve living standards for families in Scotland, including the role of social security. The speakers will considered the role that employers and other have to play in reducing poverty and increasing economic security.

Ms Eisenstadt said:

“Some really good progress has been made by the Scottish government to reduce poverty. After housing costs Scotland has lower poverty rates than the rest of the UK, people in Scotland have been given protection against the bedroom tax, better tenant protection in the Private Rented Sector, free tuition fees,  and free social care for older people. In addition the new Scottish Child Payment will go some way towards reducing child poverty.

“However, more could be done, including stronger pursuit of inclusive growth policies, reversing some of the Universal Credit cuts, improving quality and accessibility of childcare and a more radical approach to local tax reform, paying attention to assets as well as income. It is vital the public is onboard with these changes if they are to be successful and maintained by future governments.”

The event marked the launch of a new long-term project being undertaken by IPPR Scotland, funded by the Standard Life Foundation, looking at how Scotland can use its new powers over social security to deliver financial security and improve living standards for low- and middle-income families in Scotland. The project which was awarded £150,000, is one of the Standard Life Foundation’s first to be funded, will last through to the end of 2021, developing a vision for tackling poverty and financial insecurity in Scotland.

Attendees included senior representatives from across the voluntary sector, business and government in Scotland.