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Building a More Equal Scotland: Designing Scotland's Poverty and Inequality Commission

April 25, 2017

In 2015 Oxfam Scotland called for the creation of an Inequality Commission, building on Scotland's politicians from across all parties stating their support to tackle economic inequality. The Scottish government has committed to establishing a Poverty and Inequality Commission in 2017-18, but its design will be critical.This report, produced in collaboration with the Fraser of Allander Institute, explores the scale of inequality in Scotland and the drivers behind it. The report examines some, but not all, of the intersecting and overlapping dimensions of economic inequality and poverty - as well as potential policy responses and the powers of the Scottish Parliament.The report then explores lessons from the work of previous commissions and makes a series of recommendations for the Scottish government as it establishes the new Poverty and Inequality Commission.

Decent Work for Scotland's Low-Paid Workers: A job to be done

September 2, 2016

This report presents findings from a unique research project aimed at establishing what low-paid workers in Scotland value as important when it comes to 'decent work'. While recognizing variations for specific groups, the research has identified remarkable consistency in respondents' priorities for decent work.There is a significant job to be done to improve the quality of work which is available in Scotland. However, by ensuring the priorities of low-paid workers significantly inform changes to policy and practice, Scotland can make major progress towards the delivery of decent work for all. 

What Makes For Decent Work? A study with low-paid workers in Scotland

March 8, 2016

The experience of work and its security and rewards have changed significantly in recent decades. Increasingly, large numbers of people experience work which is insecure and which is paid at levels which do not allow families to live above the poverty line. In Scotland, around half of the working age adults experiencing poverty live in working households.This research adapts and applies the concept of ‘decent work' in Scotland for the first time, using participatory research methods. Devised by Oxfam Scotland and the University of the West of Scotland (as part of the UWS-Oxfam Partnership), and in collaboration with the University of Warwick, the research consulted 1,500 people between October 2015 and February 2016 about what decent work means to them. This summary report shows that there was remarkable consistency in people's priorities and that they are not extravagant; they represent what many would see as quite limited expectations, and should be common practice in twenty-first century Scotland. But the research also shows that these expectations are much too often not being met. Decent work is something too many people hope to experience, or experience only partially, rather than a reality in their daily lives.

The Scottish Doughnut: A safe and just operating space for Scotland

July 17, 2014

The world faces twin challenges: delivering a decent standard of living for everyone, whilst living within our environmental limits. These two interwoven concerns are depicted by Oxfam's Doughnut Model. It allows people to visualise a space between planetary boundaries (the outer edge of the Doughnut) and a social floor (the inner edge), where it is environmentally and socially safe, but also just for humanity to exist. It is where we must aim to reach.   Building on previous work undertaken by the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Oxfam's Kate Raworth, the Scottish Doughnut suggests areas of life, or domains, which might constitute a social foundation, below which no one in Scotland should fall. It also begins the process of identifying which planetary boundaries might be useful for incorporation into a national Scottish analysis.  The paper then provides a snap shot of Scotland's current situation by assessing performance against these suggested domains and indicators.

Our Economy: Towards a new prosperity

June 19, 2013

For too many Scots, the existing economic model is failing. Far from improving their lives, it traps them in a cycle of economic hardship. Yet it is possible to overcome poverty, both in Scotland and across the UK - many of the solutions already exist, hidden within the very communities hit hardest by an economic model that worships at the altar of 'economic growth'. The extraordinary work of our partners in Scotland has helped frame this report, where we hope to show how allocating resources in a more effective and sustainable way can deliver lasting change. In this paper we argue that the Scottish economy must pursue policies which deliver for the people, and policy-makers must play a central and driving role as underwriters of community solutions.Some of our recommendations include:- Build on the National Performance Framework and the Oxfam Humankind Index to create a better way of measuring our collective prosperity.- Create a Poverty Commissioner to ensure spending decisions are poverty proofed and to support communities to challenge Government policies and private sector actions that do not contribute to socio-economic equality.- Employers in the public and private sectors should pay a living wage.- Tax havens, offshore earnings and loopholes which allow avoidance, should be pursued and closed. Business support, corporate social responsibility awards and government plaudits should be contingent on companies meeting their tax obligations.- A Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) to social protection should be pursued. This would recognise complex barriers to work, gender differences and caring responsibilities as well as rewarding individuals' range of skills and contributions (including activities that deliver social benefit but are currently insufficiently valued by the market).- Funding is required to make it easier for deprived communities to own assets for local benefit. As part of a socio-economic duty, council staff should support deprived communities prepare for ownership, with upfront grants enabling communities to assess the merits of an opportunity.