Welfare grant: a BIG mistake?
A big new welfare grant could greatly reduce poverty — but only if implemented sustainably. Given SA’s fiscal fragility, it could also make things worse. The trade-offs need to be weighed up with care
The report by an expert panel on the feasibility of introducing a basic income grant (BIG) in SA recommends that, as a first step, retaining the social relief of distress (SRD) grant at R350 a month is both fiscally sustainable and "critically necessary" from a poverty-alleviation perspective.
And yet, the same report warns that SA’s fiscal position is precarious, and in the absence of faster growth a new basic income support (BIS) grant for unemployed adults, funded mainly through higher taxes, could make things worse...