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POSITIVE NEWS - What went right this week: Scotland’s minimum income plan, plus more positive news

Posted 27th August 2021 • Written by •

Scotland announced plans for a minimum income to tackle poverty, Qatar took tentative steps towards democracy, and Denmark and Costa Rica sought to hasten the end of fossil fuels, plus the week's other positive news

Scotland announced plans for a minimum income

The Scottish government is drawing up plans for a ‘minimum income guarantee’ to tackle poverty. The scheme would aim to provide everyone in Scotland with a minimum acceptable standard of living, ensuring they have enough money for housing, food and other necessities. 

“A minimum income guarantee could transform the lives of people across Scotland, setting an income floor beneath which no one would fall,” said Russell Gunson, director of Scotland’s Institute for Public Policy Research. “To build a fairer and stronger Scotland following Covid-19 we will need to think big ideas.”

Unlike a universal basic income, which would be given to everyone regardless of means, a minimum income guarantee would target those on low incomes. Supporters say that it would reduce poverty and boost the economy. Critics argue that it would be expensive and could disincentivise work.

The Scottish government has launched a cross-party steering group to drive the policy forward. It has not provided detailed proposals of the scheme, which would require approval from the Scottish and UK governments. 

Denmark and Costa Rica sought to hasten the end of oil

Denmark and Costa Rica are to create an alliance of nations dedicated to accelerating the end of fossil fuels, it was announced on Wednesday. They are now seeking other countries to join them in agreeing a date to phase out fossil fuels, and end oil and gas exploration.

The International Energy Agency said that there should be no new investment in fossil fuel production anywhere in the world if the Paris agreement is to be honoured. However, there has so far been no collective government action to end oil and gas production. 

The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) will seek to address that. “We hope that this alliance will be something that will be noticed and hopefully inspire others to join,” Danish climate and energy minister Dan Jorgensen told Reuters. 

Qatar took tentative steps towards democracy

A date has been set for Qatar’s first general election. While the absolute monarchy remains a long way off being a democracy, the development is a sign of progress. 

Voters will go to the polls on 2 October to elect members of the country’s Shura Council, which advises the prime minister. The council consists of 45 members who, like the prime minister, have traditionally been appointed by the hereditary emir of Qatar (currently Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani). 

Ahmed Yousef al-Mlifi, a political analyst in Kuwait, agreed that Qatar remained a long way off being a truly democratic parliament. “[But] it is still a step toward democracy,” he told DW Arabic. 

Only those aged 18 and over with at least one grandfather born in Qatar will be allowed to vote. Expats and migrant workers, who make up the bulk of the population, will therefore not be represented. 

Malaria sickness could be cut by 70 per cent – study

A new approach to protecting young children in Africa from malaria could reduce deaths and illness from the disease by 70 per cent, according to research published this week.

A trial in Mali and Burkina Faso saw 6,000 children receive three doses of a malaria vaccine before the malaria transmission season, plus a booster dose before the rainy season. Hospitalisations and deaths plummeted. 

The trial was run by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and the study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “The results are very striking and could pave the way for a potential new approach to malaria control,” said Professor Brian Greenwood from LSHTM. 

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