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.”
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UBI is a good idea. It would be made generally feasible by being funded by a tax on the annual value of land (Henry George’s “Land Value Tax”) which an independent Wales could and should levy to reverse centuries of expropriation.
What I don’t understand is how many care leavers are going to find a job well paid enough to replace that £1600 income after 24 months.
(This is Wales we are talking about – not London or Manchester)
It is going to be a strange life lesson for many to realize that they are worse off now that they are working fulltime.
You quite rightly draw attention to yet another issue relating to this “trial”. If min wage was raised to £12 per hour and say someone was fortunate enough to get 35 hours work a week regularly then the gross pay is £21,840. The £2,640 difference over the trial amount would be eliminated by tax – 20%of about £9,000 and the N.I deductions before even factoring in travel to work and other incidental costs not likely covered by an employer. Trim those numbers to a level close to today’s mess in Wales and the 1600 will be a difficult number for… Read more »
Plaid Cymru should start fighting for a new wales 🏴 and stop getting involved with British politics and only get involved with welsh politics it’s time for a new wales 🏴 stop all second homes in wales and don’t be afraid of upsetting the English people in wales 🏴 start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴
Sad that those on the state pension, who have paid into it through NI for decades, are expected to make do with half of what is seen as just about adequate for 18-year-olds.