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£1600 a month basic income pilot for care leavers in Wales announced

15 Feb 2022 4 minute read
Money on a Welsh dragon

The Welsh Government has outlined plans for a £1600 a month basic income pilot for care leavers in Wales.

All young people leaving care who turn 18 during a 12 month period, across all local authority areas, will be offered the opportunity to take part in the pilot.

The pilot will run for a minimum of three years with each member of the cohort receiving a basic income payment of £1600 per month for a duration of 24 months from the month after their 18th birthday.

The pilot will begin during the next financial year and the Welsh Government anticipate over 500 young people will be eligible to join the scheme.

Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said that the aim was to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are supported.

“We know we’re in the midst of a cost of living crisis and we’re determined to continually look at how best to support individuals in Wales who live in poverty,” she said.

“Care leavers have a right to be properly supported as they develop into independent young adults. It’s also important to note that this policy is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), emphasising our commitment to strengthening the rights of children and young people in Wales.

“Yet, too many young people leaving care continue to face significant barriers to achieving a successful transition into adulthood. Our Basic Income pilot is an exciting project to deliver financial stability for a generation of young people that need it most.

“The pilot will build on the existing support offered to looked after children in Wales and ensure young people who take part in this pilot get all the support they need to give them the best possible chance to make their way in life and the transition out of care better, easier and more positive.

“We are fully committed to supporting those living in poverty, ensuring they receive adequate financial support so that everyone in Wales can live happy and healthy lives.”

‘Critical’

The Welsh Government said that the pilot would enhance the support available to young people as they leave care and assess the impact that has on them. The pilot would provide a test for the stated benefits of basic income, such as addressing poverty and unemployment and improving health and financial wellbeing.

The government added that they involved care leavers directly in the development of the pilot as well as working with professionals in Local Authorities and have also established a Technical Advisory Group, chaired by Professor Sir Michael Marmot, bringing together experts in basic income and support for care leavers to inform the development and evaluation of the pilot.

Catriona Williams OBE, Chair of Voices from Care Cymru said: “We are grateful to the Minister for the time she spent with young people from across Wales on Saturday to listen to their views about the Pilot. It is critical for it to succeed that the voices of care experienced children and young people are heard on decisions like this that directly affect their lives.

“We look forward to working with the Welsh Government to help ensure that the Pilot is successful and delivers the best possible outcomes for care experienced young people in Wales so they can thrive. ”

The Welsh Government’s Technical Advisory Group on Basic Income, chaired by Professor Sir Michael Marmot said: “The Technical Advisory Group for the Welsh Basic Income Pilot want to put on record our support for this policy. Whilst we may have differing opinions on how a basic income can work on a wider scale, we can all agree that any scheme aimed at helping a particularly vulnerable group should be welcomed and intend to provide Welsh Government with the support it needs in making this a success.”

Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt added: “The pilot is specifically being designed to enable participants to receive more than just a basic transfer of cash; support will also be offered that is designed to build up their confidence to negotiate the world outside of care.

This extra support will include, for instance, financial well-being training and signposting to all available support provided by Welsh Government and other partner organisations.

I want to thank all the stakeholders, experts and partner organisations that have made this a reality. We’re committed to delivering for the people of Wales and ensuring we support the most vulnerable in our society.

Our basic income pilot delivers for young people leaving care in Wales and emphasises our commitment to tackling the scourge of poverty.”


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Liam Sullivan
Liam Sullivan
7 months ago

What a brilliant idea. This is long overdue

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
7 months ago

Well done to the Welsh government. It also shows us what we can do if we become independent. Build on policies, like this, to drag our nation out of poverty. It won’t be easy but we’ll have an opportunity to build a nation where people are put first and not money making.

Last edited 7 months ago by Steve Duggan
Ed Smith
Ed Smith
7 months ago

Not sure why this only applies to 18 year olds? I have been working for years earning barely above minimum wage, I don’t my own property, I don’t drive (saving the planet), I don’t understand why I haven’t been considered and selected for universal basic income, why other tens of thousands of people have not been considered and selected for universal basic income. This is pure discrimination.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
7 months ago
Reply to  Ed Smith

Indeed, it seems that the pilot will make a travesty of the notion of it being in any sense ‘universal’. The Welsh government was warned some time ago that care leavers were in many senses a far from ideal group to test this idea upon, unless it’s the Welsh Government’s intention for this pilot to fail to deliver any genuinely meaningful data. Once again politicians seem hamstrung by a narrowness of thinking, seeing UBI as a substitute for the benefits system, when in fact UBI would abolish the very idea of the current benefits system due to its universality. The… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Done to irritate those who are excluded. There are loads of families and individuals out in the community who would be glad to receive an assured sum of this order every month. It may not sound a lot but it equates to quite a bit more before the usual deductions of Tax, N.I etc. Even pensioners, many on a State pension and a small work related pension, will look at this with envy and wonder why.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
7 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

I don’t think this is discrimination, remember this is a relatively small trail. Also, people in care do find it more difficult to get a foothold in adult life (I’ve seen this as I’m a foster carer) so at least something is being done to help them. Ultimately, the aim is so ‘everyone’ receives a basic income but that cannot happen until after independence.

Last edited 7 months ago by Steve Duggan
Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
7 months ago

As John McInroe once famously said – you cannot be serious. I am in favour of UBI; indeed regular readers of Nation Cymru and other Welsh media will be well aware of my positive views in support of such a scheme. But this madness! There are over twenty five UBI type schemes currently operating in the world; the highest payment is £450 per month or equivalent; indeed the latest scheme in New York pays just $100 per month. These schemes are in addition to work or benefits. Is the scheme announced by the government in addition to work and benefit?… Read more »

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
7 months ago

What a clever way to trial the concept. 25% of our adult prison population of 80,000 started life in care. That costs £45K a head per annum or £300M a month where savings can be made. Add in the homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse and the lack of education and this group are just about the most expensive in and to our society. Bear in mind that this is taxable, using up all their personal allowances, and that every penny they earn on top is taxable at 20% and it is a good introduction to life. 87% don’t get 5… Read more »

Arfon
Arfon
7 months ago

This is very welcomed and it targets a deserving cohorts of individuals who have missed out on the best start in life. Rutgers Bergman in his book shows that UBI does benefit small cohorts I.e homeless and doesn’t necessarily need to be universal especially at a pilot stage.

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