Scotland urged to follow Wales with basic income pilot scheme
Scottish Labour have urged the SNP Government to follow in Wales’ footsteps and introduce a basic income pilot scheme there.
The Welsh Government yesterday 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.
Speaking with STV News, Scottish Labour’s spokesperson for social justice and social security, Pam Duncan-Glancy, said the pilot being introduced in Wales was “really exciting”, and urged the SNP to take a similar approach.
“What it shows is that when you have a government, a Labour government, who is bold enough to use the powers they’ve got to make a change to people’s lives, then it shows what you can do about it,” she said.
“We know, for example, that care leavers are a group of people who experience hardship and also the state ultimately have been responsible for them for some time.
“So, it’s a good group of people to start with and look at what we can do to put money in their pockets and improve their outcomes.
“And exactly that kind of thing is what we should really be seeing the SNP government do here in Scotland.
“But instead, whenever we suggest that they start looking at putting more money in people’s pockets, they say they don’t have the powers to do it.
“And the Welsh Government have significantly less powers in social security than we do in Scotland and look what they’re about to embark on.”
The pilot scheme in Wales 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.
Wales’ 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.”
The Tories have however criticised the Welsh Government’s plan for a £1600 a month basic income pilot for care leavers in Wales.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Social Partnership, Joel James MS, said that the Welsh Government is “not even close to living in reality with this trial”.
He insisted that he “wholeheartedly” supports “helping the poorest and most vulnerable in our country”, but argued that basic income “fails to incentivise work”, and is a “waste of public money”.
“Countless trials from across the globe have found Basic Income does not have the expected outcomes as it fails to incentivise work and proves time after time to be a waste of public money,” he said.
“If rolled-out across the board with every adult in Wales receiving £1,600 a month it would cost nearly £50 billion a year, and at the same time reward the wealthiest in society rather than helping those who need it most.
“Our NHS is at breaking point and our economy is in a fragile state, but instead of tackling those issues head-on, Labour are more interested in Basic Income – which will cost the country an absolute fortune.”
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