Call for welfare system to end 'fear-based approach'

SCOTLAND'S welfare ­system should abandon its fear-based approach to ­forcing people into low-paid work, a new report suggests.

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'In Place of Anxiety - ­Social Security for the Common Weal', published by the Jimmy Reid Foundation, puts forward proposals on how Scotland should move towards a new welfare system.

The report was penned by Glasgow Caledonian University's Professor Ailsa McKay - who died days ­after submitting the report - and Convenor of Compass Scotland, Willie Sullivan.

Robin McAlpine, director of the Jimmy Reid Foundation, said: "We should not be using fear to try and control vulnerable groups like disabled people and the unemployed.

"Using poverty to force people into low-paid work isn't good for our economy or our society. People des­erve security and a chance to build a decent life."

Mr McAlpine added that research carried out for the report reveals people see three things as vital to a happy life.

He said: "What people want is meaningful work, somewhere nice to live and the security of knowing that their family is going to be okay."

The report describes two views of how a welfare ­system should work.

The first, it says, pushes "people towards work by creating an environment of fear, anxiety and insecurity."

It continues: "This view is taken by the UK Government which actively promotes benefit withdrawal, aggressive means-testing and continual downward pressure on levels of benefit payment to 'incentivise' people to work."

It adds that this view ­ignores the fact that most people in poverty are ­already working.

The second view, championed by the report, draws from the evidence which shows "that people are better able to participate in the economy from a base of individual security than from collective anxiety."

The Jimmy Reid Foundation is a think tank founded in the late union leader's memory to continue his legacy of radical political thinking.

stef.lach@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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