Control of tax and welfare powers needed for a ‘comprehensive’ UBI pilot, say Plaid Cymru
Wales needs control of tax and welfare powers to run a “comprehensive” Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilot, according to Plaid Cymru.
Luke Fletcher MS, the party’s spokesperson for the economy, has welcomed yesterdays announcement of a basic income pilot, but has warned that the Welsh Government will have to “curb” its “ambition” if it wants to go further.
The Welsh Government has outlined plans for a £1600 a month basic income pilot for care leavers in Wales, in which 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.
Luke Fletcher said: “This pilot is a step in the right direction for the Welsh Government, but it’s really important that it has the structure around it to enable it to meet the ambition of addressing poverty and unemployment, as well as improving health and financial wellbeing.
“Poverty is as multidimensional as it is widespread, and there’s no reason that this pilot cannot be expanded to a wider population from the start.
“To fully support these steps, Welsh Government must call for more powers over welfare and tax, and not let their previous reluctance to do so curb this new ambition.
“These additional powers are needed urgently, not just to run a comprehensive pilot, but to tackle rising poverty in our communities and to start planning a future Welsh Tax and Benefits system, with UBI (Universal Basic Income) at its core.”
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds, who has campaigned in favour of the introduction of UBI trials, said: “Although I would have liked to see a wider pilot, today’s announcement is a significant step in the right direction and will be one of the most generous trials we’ve seen globally.
“However, I’d also like to see the Welsh Government outline how they intend to promote uptake of the scheme. We know that unfortunately care leavers have very low uptake of existing Government assistance schemes, so we have to ensure this opportunity is effectively promoted to those who qualify.”
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.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.