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Welsh Government launches Basic Income pilot scheme

28 Jun 2022 4 minute read
First Minister Mark Drakeford meeting with care leavers at Tramshed in Cardiff. Photo Welsh Government

The Welsh Government has launched its Basic Income pilot scheme aimed at helping young people as they leave the care system.

From July 1, more than 500 people leaving care in Wales will be offered £1,600 each month before tax for two years to support them as they make the transition to adult life.

The £20 million pilot, which will run for three years, will be evaluated to carefully examine its effect on the lives of those involved, the Welsh Government have said.

First Minister Mark Drakeford, who launched the scheme, said: “We want all our young people to have the best possible chance in life and fulfil their full potential.

“The state is the guardian of people leaving care and so has a real obligation to support them as they start their adult life.

“Our focus will be on opening up their world to all its possibilities and create an independence from services as their lives develop.

“Many of those involved in this pilot don’t have the support lots of people – myself included – have been lucky enough to enjoy as we started out on our path to adulthood.

“Our radical initiative will not only improve the lives of those taking part in the pilot but will reap rewards for the rest of Welsh society.

“If we succeed in what we are attempting today this will be just the first step in what could be a journey that benefits generations to come.”

Advice and support

Those taking part in the pilot will also receive individual advice and support to help them manage their finances and develop their financial and budgeting skills.

Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt added: “We’re in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis like no other and we therefore need new ways of supporting people who are most in need.

“Our Basic Income pilot is an incredibly exciting project giving financial stability to a generation of young people.

“Too many people leaving care face huge barriers to achieving their hopes and ambitions – such as problems with getting a safe and stable home, to securing a job and building a fulfilling career.

“This scheme will help people live a life free of such barriers and limitations.

“We will carefully evaluate the lessons learnt from the pilot. Listening to everyone who takes part will be crucial in determining the success of this globally ambitious project.

“We will examine whether Basic Income is an efficient way to support society’s most vulnerable and not only benefit the individual, but wider society too.”

The pilot will be limited to care leavers who reach their 18th birthday between July 1 2022 and June 30 2023.

It will run for three years with each person taking part receiving the basic income payment for 24 months from the month after their 18th birthday.

And participants can choose whether to receive the money monthly or fortnightly.

‘Free money’

The pilot was criticised by the Welsh Conservatives, who said it was “free money” offering no long-term solutions.

Joel James, shadow minister for social partnership, said: “It’s been proven time and again that so-called Universal Basic Income doesn’t work.

“Look at Finland, who ditched their scheme after two years in favour of a new scheme that encouraged people to actually take up employment or training.

“We recognise that this is a vulnerable group and they need extra support, but this is completely the wrong way to go about it and could well create more problems than it solves.

“It’s typical Labour, but it’s obvious that giving out free money won’t be a quick fix.”

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Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 year ago

As hard as it might be to finance, I believe, ultimately, everyone should be given a basic income. At the moment the employer has too much power – 800 people booted out whether they like it or not – so be it. They just don’t care. Strikes are the only way many can protest but the UK gov is now allowing agency staff to fill the gap, this along with tighter striking/protesting laws allowing police to break up marches, are stopping this too. Universal income means people can easier leave a position if it poorly paid or has bad working… Read more »

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

The annual net cost of this scheme per person is about £17,500. The cost of secure youth custody is said to be £271,000. It costs £65K in the first year in adult prison due to court and police costs and £40K to £50K a year thereafter. Children in Care and Care Leavers account for less than 1% of the population Over 25% of the adult prison population has previously been in care 49% of young men under the age of 21 in the CJS (criminal justice system) have spent time in care 27% of young men in custody have spent… Read more »

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