This article is an argument for a ‘universal social minimum’, or a ‘social floor’ as a foundation for citizenship. The universal social minimum aims to serve a dual function. The first is to create a coherent framework that responds to the increasing social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities and risks heaped upon most of us, but especially those living in poverty. The second is to frame the arguments as a political programme, wresting the issue from technocrats and creating the possibility for political vision and will.
Obviously as a response to vulnerability and risk, the idea of a social minimum impinges on the social protection agenda. For those with a comprehensive approach to social protection, the universal social
minimum could be seen as a social protection framework; for those with narrower approaches it could provide a framework within which social protection sits. The critical thing is that the social policy measures aimed at addressing vulnerability an risk are shaped from a human rights and social justice perspective, and that they work together as a whole.