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Universal Basic Income ‘a fantasy’ claims Tory as report says it would halve poverty in Wales

29 Nov 2021 3 minutes Read
Joel James MS on Senedd TV. Sophie Howe – The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales is photographed at the Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye in Brecknockshire, South Wales.

A Welsh Conservative Senedd Member has claimed that Universal Basic Income is a “fantasy” after a report said that it would halve poverty in Wales.

The study by Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe, said that UBI would decrease overall poverty rates in Wales by 50% and child poverty would decrease by 64%.

But the Welsh Conservatives said that the idea amounted to “some of the richest in society receive taxpayers hard-earned money” and was “all in the name of ideological purity”.

Earlier this year, the Welsh Government announced that it was intending to bring forward a UBI pilot in Wales.

Sophie Howe’s report found that a trial in Wales of 2,500 people could cost around £50m, with adults being paid from £60 per week.  

It also found that almost three quarters of people in Wales, 69%, supported piloting UBI.

But Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Social Partnership, Joel James MS said that it was a “fantasy idea” and “touted by a Welsh Government sponsored body”.

He added that it had “repeatedly been abandoned in other countries but pursued by hardened left-wing professors and academics who have no idea how to generate a thriving and prosperous economy”.

“Ultimately, what Wales desperately needs is an ambitious plan to level-up opportunity and deliver economic prosperity across the country, not a blank cheque that buys nothing but popularity with the far-left,” he said.

‘Life jacket’

Future Generations Commissioner Sophie Howe said UBI could form part of a preventative-based National Wellness System, addressing income security – one of the social determinants of health – taking pressure off the health service and removing the barriers to long-term good health. 

“The introduction of a universal basic income could completely transform society by delivering a more equal, prosperous Wales,” she said.

“Piloting a UBI trial here in Wales gives us a chance to increase the prosperity of every single person, giving more people a life jacket when they need to keep their head above the water – which has the potential to create a healthier, more equal population.”  

“The Well-being of Future Generations Act puts a duty on Welsh Government to take bold decisions to change systems that aren’t working and to prevent crises from worsening. 

“The findings in this report should excite leaders who say they want a true green and just recovery that makes life fairer for everyone.” 

The feasibility study, run by think tank Autonomy, found that UBI would bring child poverty to a rate of under 10% in Wales. It is currently at 28% – the worst in the UK. 

Will Stronge, co-director of Autonomy, said:  “There is a strong appetite amongst the Welsh public for trying out basic income and this comprehensive study sets out the roadmap for getting there.

“The COVID-19 pandemic necessitates radical and bold changes to support people through future economic shocks. As the economy and labour market struggles to find its feet, it’s clear that guaranteeing an income floor for all is the most progressive way of securing livelihoods.” 

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GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
1 month ago

Anything the tories suggest, do the complete opposite. This from the party who gave 40 billion to their mates on a failed track and trace system.To them it doesn’t matter this will help every single person in Wales and now they are whining rich people will get tax payers money? Their hypocrisy reeks.

Geraint
Geraint
1 month ago

It is though the Tories are terrified of UBI. No real engagement with the issues or alternatives. On one hand we have a few well off people also getting the allowance which seems to be their only concern and on the other there could be significant cuts to poverty. It does seem that a trial is a measured and sensible way forward to address a huge problem that we have not managed to solve for many decades.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

quick view of part of his statement – “Ultimately, what Wales desperately needs is an ambitious plan to level-up opportunity and deliver economic prosperity across the country, not a blank cheque that buys nothing but popularity with the far-left”. “ambitious plan to level-up opportunity” a vague waffle phrase to cover the lack of any real ideas to support the much used rhetorical “leveling up” spin. Fact of the matter is that levelling up will be yet another round of laundering government money into friendly corporate coffers. Scam ! “deliver economic prosperity across the country,” – How exactly ? By selling… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

The Welsh Conservatives have the nerve. Since time immemorial the Tories have given tax breaks to the filthy rich whilst attacking the poorest in society.

And as others have highlighted. Again they criticise for the sake of criticism. Their twisted ideology is incompatible with Welsh values of caring for all in society not just the lucky few.

Paul Budding
Paul Budding
1 month ago

Most British supporters of Universal Basic Income support a UBI that taxes the UBI away from the rich. This is comparable to a socialist NHS that taxes the richest to fund it. If you receive X but pay out XX then its redistributive. The Tory must know that its possible to do a redistributive UBI. Who the hell does he think primarily pays for it?

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

Anything that might bring a benefit to our country, will be criticised by the the Tory party in Wales. I am yet to hear a Tory in Wales stand up for the people who elected them, let alone criticise actions that have left us worse off, ie ” levelling up” by transfering money from our railways into the black hole of HS2 cost. Hypocrisy in full flow.

George
George
1 month ago

I understood UBI to be a way of paying people what they need to live on and allowing them to invest their efforts into either bettering their chances through study, work which doesn’t pay as well/internship or taking on role necessary for community such as home care workers etc.? The real Living Wage is currently £9.90 an hour so a full working week being minimum of 30 hours has it at £297 per week which is considerably higher than £60. Maybe I need to look again into the point of UBI, and I would agree that conducting a pilot into… Read more »

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago

I’ve often thought that Tory rectitude is a fantasy.

Grayham Jones
1 month ago

We in wales have got to stop being little Englanders and and be proud to be welsh kick all English party’s out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

” Some of the richest in society receive taxpayers hard-earned” and was “all in the name of ideological purity” – actually, that sounds more like the Tory way of doing things to me. Sleaze and brexit respectively.

Tim
Tim
1 month ago

Poverty hurts people. It also hurts the economy. When we haven’t got enough to live on, we’re not buying things. Businesses making and selling those things suffer. They start laying off staff. These people suffer, and stop buying things. More businesses suffer. The economy shrinks, and keeps on shrinking.

The question is this: why are the Tories so keen to undermine the economy?

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

He’s a Tory….. who cares what he thinks……. But I bet he takes his own UBI when the time comes.

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