Some might say it’s wrong to clamp down on unpaid work when many people – particularly young people – are keen to do it. But where do we draw the line? How many weeks, months or years of volunteering might end up being required before a job applicant can outshine their rivals and bag a paid post?
It would be unfair to compare the UK Government to the serial killer in the Saw movies, but handing income-tax powers to the Scottish Parliament was a stroke of evil genius.
The question many are now asking is whether the majority of Scottish workers are willing to pay a little more for well-resourced public services and universal benefits. But this is not, in fact, the key question. We need to ask how effective a rate rise would be.
What price happiness? What counts as work? What’s a fair wage? What’s the value of security, or care, or art? The answers are unlikely to be provided by tiny-scale basic income pilot schemes in Scottish local authorities.
The Give Me Five campaign is calling for the Scottish Government to use its new powers to top up child benefit by £5 per week. But there are other ways to put money in the pockets of poor parents and carers that involve neither universal provision nor means testing.
The delivery companies have responded with warm words, arranging meetings about safety and setting up phone lines for riders to report concerns. They have emphasised that no-one is obliged to make deliveries in area where they feel unsafe. Which sounds good until you remember that the firms are not obliged to pay them, either.
The government cannot sit on its hands and blame market forces for the plight of those citizens who will never get on the property ladder (and quite possibly don’t want to either). It doesn’t take an economics degree to see this is a problem of supply and demand to which building is the solution.
A WARM winter coat. A damp-free home. Fresh fruit and veg. A week’s holiday every year. Are these the bare necessities of life in the UK? What about broadband, curtains, or household insurance? It’s hard to pin down exactly what we mean when we talk about living in poverty. One man or woman’s luxury –Continue reading “Payslips and Facebook posts alone won’t tell you who’s in poverty”