AN overwhelming majority of Scots would support a minimum income guarantee, with most prepared to accept a “slight” rise in their own personal taxes to pay for it.

A poll commissioned by the IPPR Scotland think tank found 79 per cent of Scots in favour of a financial safety net to ensure nobody fell below a minimum acceptable standard of living.

Survey work by the Diffley Partnership last month also found 55% of Scots wanted to see a more generous benefits system even if their own taxes rose slightly.

While 72% backed a benefits rise for people with disabilities and 59% supported higher benefits for single or lone parents even if it meant slightly higher taxes for themselves.

The polling was carried out as part of research published today by IPPR Scotland which sets out “a roadmap” to a living income for all in Scotland.

The thinktank called for “immediate” preliminary action by the Scottish Government on social security, fair work and public services, which would help with the cost of living crisis.

It suggested £540milion of immiediate benefit hikes but failed to say how they would be paid for, saying funding would be covered in later reports.

A previous report by the IPPR suggested a monthly core entitlement of £1,244 for a couple household, and £792 for a single person household, plus additional payments for children, could cost £7billion in Scotland in 2022/23, almost sixth of the entire budget.

That report said cost would have to be balanced by spending cuts or tax rises, and suggested hiking income tax, council tax and creating a new property tax - but that would raise barely £1.5bn a year.

It suggested the Scottish Government should aim to have an income guarantee by 2030.

The Scottish Government launched a steering group on a minimum income last year.

The Tories have described the potential costs as “eye-watering”.

IPPR Scotland director Philip Whyte said: “The long-term ambitious commitments of the Scottish government to deliver on a living income for Scotland are welcome, but it’s time to start mowing the long grass.

“Today IPPR Scotland set out practical, realistic steps to these long-term ambitions that the Scottish government can start implementing quickly – using existing powers to further boost incomes through social security, help people to access secure and well-paid work, and reducing costs through the services they use.

“While a living income presents an opportunity to radically reform the social safety net in Scotland, we know that won’t come quickly or easily. 

“Meanwhile, some of the most vulnerable households are faced with the incomprehensible choice between heating or eating. It doesn’t have to be this way.

“Taking immediate steps would demonstrate willingness and show progress on the part of the Scottish government against these long-term ambitions, but most crucially it would provide a response to the immediate crisis families face here and now.”

Mubin Haq, Chief Executive of abrdn Financial Fairness Trust said: “By committing to delivering a Minimum Income Guarantee the Scottish government has pledged to shore up living standards.

"But with inflation at a 40-year high and one-in-five Scots in serious financial difficulties we need action to be accelerated. This hardship is only set to worsen as energy prices rocket.

"Today’s report outlines a range of support the Scottish government could take now, which would boost incomes and help families who are struggling to make ends meet.”