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Tory MS branded ‘disgraceful’ for care leaver criminal gang claims

08 May 2024 3 minute read
James Evans MS and the Welsh Conservative Party – by Senedd Cymru Welsh Parliament

Emily Price

A Tory MS has been jeered and branded “genuinely disgraceful” after claiming that support for young care leavers could make them vulnerable to criminal gangs.

In the Senedd on Tuesday (May 8), Brecon and Radnorshire MS James Evans raised the issue of the Welsh Government’s universal basic income care leavers pilot.

The scheme was launched in July 2022 and pays young people £1,600 a month for the first 24 months of leaving the care system.

It aims to address the challenges faced by young people leaving local authority care or foster care and transitioning into adulthood.

The Welsh Conservatives have attacked the scheme as a “hand-out” for young asylum seekers.

The Welsh Government says the trial does include a small number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children who were being looked after by a local authority up until the age of 18.

Speaking about the scheme during FMQs, Mr Evans described the UK Government’s controversial Rwanda plan as a deterrent that will “protect the most vulnerable people” fleeing persecution from “disgusting criminal gangs”.

Members of the Senedd could be heard calling out across the Chamber until the Llywydd intervened calling for calm.

Vulnerable

The Tory MS, who has recently been moved from his place behind Andrew RT Davies to a seat near Labour Party members, continued asking the First Minister what “special measures” had been put in place by the Welsh Government to protect young people benefiting from the scheme.

He said: “Could you please elaborate on the specific measures that the Welsh Government has put in place to safeguard those children from all forms of exploitation, including those from criminal gangs?

“Because what we could see from this scheme is a way for those criminal gangs to access money and exploit the most vulnerable people in our society.

“That’s not something I want to see, it’s not something that my group wants to see. But the Welsh Government needs to take this issue seriously, because this is something that could really happen to vulnerable children.”

Mr Gething hit back at the Tory MS branding him “genuinely disgraceful” for drawing a link between “illegal migrants and the Rwanda scheme and the care leavers pilot on universal basic income”.

He said: “This is about improving outcomes for our most vulnerable children, and I would ask James Evans, who I do believe actually does want to see better outcomes for vulnerable care leavers in our society, to think again about the link he drew and to reflect on that.

“And to think, when he next meets care leavers, when he next talks about the basic income pilot, whether he is prepared to look to the better part of who he is and wants to be, and not to draw such a disgraceful link again, and to think about how we better support people who are part of our country to be a successful part of our future.”

Although it has not yet confirmed how many young asylum seekers leave care on average every year, a Welsh Government source says the number is “a very small proportion of those taking part in the pilot”.

The Welsh Government says it makes “no apology” for giving care leavers the best possible start in life.


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Evan Aled Bayton
Evan Aled Bayton
14 days ago

It’s actually a very good point. These people are very vulnerable to exploitation as are other vulnerable children and young adults. I can easily see an older deviant or drug addict grooming such a person to obtain their money. There are frequent examples of adults – parents or partners – who exploit benefits given to disabled and learning disability people. It doesn’t help to confound it with exploitation by criminal gangs of immigrants but undoubtedly the two groups overlap.

Erisian
Erisian
14 days ago

Well, what do expect from a Tory with nothing positive to contribute and no ideas left beyond sowing division – let’s hope someone else is in his seat after the next election

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
14 days ago

Perhaps someone could ask the First Minister if India is a fit country to do business with given the assassination of Sikhs around the world and demonisation at home of Muslims currently practiced by its government…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
13 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Given the timing of the announcement of the partnership of USW and Twmkur Uni in Karnataka, India, is this not a little bit of Red, Green and Whitewashing…!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
13 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Shocking, what is going on in India, Martin. Our relationship with Mr Modi’s India needs looking at…

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
13 days ago

What else can you expect from members of the nasty party?

Jeff
Jeff
13 days ago

Tory party is all about enriching Tory members and like minded. Not about helping people.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
13 days ago

Is this the same Tory MS James Evans whose Westminster party exploits unpaid carers , the very ones who if indeed claim any sort of benefit, usually Universal Credit or Personal Independence Payment, are then terrorised by Capita, an in-house government agency employed to assess the poorest in society on the most meagre of money with a bonus attached if they stop their claim as revealed by whistleblowers. And sure, any scheme is open to abuse. You’ve just got to see Rishy Sunak’s furlough scheme as a fine example where billions were lost due to fraud. But it makes you… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Y Cymro
Richard Davies
Richard Davies
13 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

The three biggest criminal gangs in the uk (in no particular order) are the tory party, mr & mrs charlie windsor (& family) and the (metropolitan) police.

Last edited 13 days ago by Richard Davies

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