Ruth George, UK, MP and chair of the Universal Credit All-Party group in Parliament: ‘We’re looking to make sure that we can improve welfare standards and tackle poverty here in the UK. That research will be absolutely vital in making sure that we can target our policy work as best we can to stamp out poverty and bring a really decent minimum standard of living to everyone!’
EMIN Netherlands had a workshop this February with the aim to discuss the future of minimum income schemes when you are a starting entrepreneur, who has to pay back a student loan of over 40.000€. Solutions, given by the young entrepreneurs/ students social work at the University of AS NHL Stenden in Leeuwarden.
EMIN Netherlands had a workshop in December with the aim to bring together young people to discuss the future of minimum income schemes. Solutions, given by the young people from different backgrounds: former homeless, former drop outs, people with chronical illness, students of social work, included:
- Steering towards a more inclusive society in terms of care. From self-reliance to cohabitation!
- Ask more and more questions, such as:
- How can we help each other?
- What does the social network look like?
- How can social education (at school) play a role. Can discussion be included as:
- What is sufficient social assistance?
- What does a good health insurance look like?
- How do you feel about Food Banks?
- Where do you get help to understand contracts for energy, smart phone, et cetera? In Amsterdam they started with financial cafes. Here you can get information and possibly help with questions concerning the health insurance, the housing corporation, utilities.
- The minimum income increase at least 100 to 200 € per month up.
- We have to demonstrate for more money. More people have to revolt.
- The government must look at the persons strength instead of its weakness.
- The minimum income (assistance etc.) must have the same growth as the economy. The gap between rich and poor is increasing. Costs, such as rent, energy and expenses, increase more than the minimum income.
- A minimum amount must be set to be able to live off, without having to be dependent on the food bank. For example, 30 € per day. That is about the minimum amount that a tourist spends per day in our country.
For this workshop we built a coalition of several –national and local- organizations for homeless youngsters and lectors of three Academies for Social work and EAPN Netherlands.
The following questions were key for the discussions:
- What is needed to ensure basic security for everyone, regardless of their position in society?
- What does that basic security look like?
- What role does a minimum income play in this? How high should a minimum income actually be in 2027 and beyond?
It was not as easy as it looks to bring these groups together from completely different worlds and with entirely different perspectives for their future, to talk to each other in order to create opinions, ideas, alternatives and proposals about the role that a minimum income in their lives will, can or must play, but it is absolutely valuable to open doors towards different groups and starting a common dialogue.
It was not simple to ask people to think about 2027, but valuable at a time when only today and tomorrow are looked at. At the end, the results were presented to the plenary, with the rule that no questions, comments or discussion are allowed, because every proposal is valuable.
At the moment we are working towards a second workshop. If all goes well this will include students and young, starting entrepreneurs.
Ulicoten, 11th of January 2018
The Emmanu-EL Apostolic Gospel Academy (De Montfort University Choir), finalists of the BBC Choir of the Year with Pastor Samuel Gapara, support the call for better minimum income schemes throughout Europe. They hope to greet the EMIN bus with ‘full voice’ at its stop in Leicester next Year. With their energetic performance of ‘Joy to the World’ all involved in the European Minimum Income Network (EMIN) sends you season’s greetings: DMU Gospel Choir EMIN Season’s Greetings!
However you celebrate this season ‘of the turning of the light’, may their exuberance and passion give you energy for the Year ahead and the engagement for social justice!
Participants at the first meeting of National Public Authorities responsible for Minimum Income schemes, facilitated by the European Minimum Income Network (EMIN), the PPS Social Integration Service (the national Public Authority with responsibilities for Minimum Income Schemes in Belgium) and the European Commission.
The aim of this meeting was to:
- Strengthen the engagement and interaction of public authorities in the EMIN Project and network
- Foster cooperation and exchange of experience and learning between Public authorities on Minimum Income
After this successful first meeting a follow up meeting will be arranged in Spring 2018.
Katherine Duffy National EMIN Coordinator meets with East Midlands regional organisers of Unite Community, which is campaigning to ‘pause and fix’ Universal Credit (the social assistance minimum income). They are also campaigning on ‘decent work’. Unite Community is the Community arm of the UK’s largest trades union, Unite. Katherine and Colin Hampton (Derby Unemployed Centre) spoke to their Regional Forum and told about the work of EMIN. The Forum have agreed to support the bus tour stop in Leicester. The preparations and planning move forward but still lots to do!
“In cash based societies to leave people without cash is to expose them to intolerable risks”
The focal point of the EMIN awareness-raising activities will be to coordinate and implement the initiative ‘European Minimum Income – Journey for better Minimum Income Schemes and a better Europe’
Two buses will be used for the journey and they each will travel for two months setting out from a high-profile ceremony in Brussels in late April 2018. Each bus will be identified by a wrap displaying the main messages of the EMIN awareness raising activity. Between the two buses we aim to visit 32 European countries. At least 4 days should be spent in each country and on the days the bus will be stopped a series of meetings will be held with civil society organisations, politicians and with the public.
An information tool about this Road Journey will be developed early in the New Year.