Greens slam Welsh Gov’s Universal Basic Income pilot plan
The Wales Green Party expressed concerns over Welsh Government’s proposed trial of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) scheme.
Party leader Anthony Slaughter has warned that a mishandled trial “could set the policy back years”.
The idea of UBI is to provide every adult with a fixed income every month that would be enough to pay for all basic essentials, regardless of whether they have any other forms of income.
But according to the Greens, the “small pilot, potentially involving people leaving care”, suggested by the Welsh Government, falls short of this.
After initially welcoming the announcement of a UBI pilot, they say to trial the policy with care leavers only misses the main benefit of UBI and defeats the purpose of the trial.
Anthony Slaughter, leader of Wales Green Party said: “Although we welcome this long-standing Green Party policy being pushed up the agenda in Wales, any trial has got to be meaningful.
“Care leavers are massively under-supported, and it’s true that government needs to do more to facilitate their lives outside of care. However, this is not the same as UBI.
“Universal Basic Income is, as the name suggests, universal. Although we welcome further financial support to those who need it, this cannot be confused with UBI.
“The trial simply will not give any useful results unless it is trialled on a sample representative of the population as a whole.
“Mishandling this trial could set UBI in Wales back years.”
Lauren James, Deputy Leader of Wales Green Party, is also co-founder of UBI Lab Newport, added: “I look forward to seeing more details released on this trial. The important issue here is scope. A trial needs to be large enough and long enough so we can get a clear picture of how it would affect people in all walks of life.
“However, it is clear that a major stumbling block with this trial is the powers of the Senedd. In Scotland, they found a trial was near impossible under their powers. More devolved powers are vital to ensuring the same does not happen here.
“UK Government must lend their full support to the trial, and equally the Senedd must push for the powers they need to ensure it is useful and accurate.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We have followed the progress of universal basic income pilot projects around the world with interest and believe there is an opportunity to test the concept in Wales.
“There is more work to be done in this area but we are interested in developing a small pilot, potentially involving people leaving care.”
In an interview with BBC Wales Drakeford said his pilot would “see whether the promises that basic income holds out are generally delivered” in people’s lives.
He said a pilot would “need to be carefully designed to make sure that it is genuinely adding income for the group of people we are able to work with”.
“It’ll have to be a pilot,” he said, “because we don’t have all the powers in our own hands to do it on our own.
“It’ll have to be carefully crafted to make sure that it is affordable and that it does it within the powers available to the Senedd.”