Wales pilots Basic Income scheme
The Welsh Government has today launched its Basic Income pilot scheme.
From 1 July 2022, more than 500 people leaving care in Wales will be offered £1600 each month (before tax) for two years to support them as they make the transition to adult life.
Launched by First Minister Mark Drakeford, it is hoped the pilot will set care leavers on a path to live healthy, happy and fulfilling lives.
The radical approach has trust, autonomy and respect at its centre. It will provide independence and security to people who have faced immense challenges during their childhood, giving them greater control and empowering them to make decisions about their future.
The £20 million pilot, which will run for three years, will be evaluated to carefully examine its effect on the lives of those involved
Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt said the scheme is a direct investment in the lives and futures of some of Wales’ most vulnerable young people.
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.
Local authorities will play a key role in supporting them throughout the pilot. Voices from Care Cymru will also work with the young people to give them advice on wellbeing, education, employment and help them plan their future after the pilot.
To launch the scheme, First Minister Mark Drakeford, Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt and Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan met with people taking part in the pilot, and young people who themselves have been in care, to talk about the impact this support will have on peoples’ lives.
They discussed how they hope the financial stability will give people the opportunity to make positive life choices as they leave care and provide a more solid foundation from which to build their adult lives.
First Minister Mark Drakeford 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.”
Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said:
“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.”
Tiff Evans of Voices from Care Cymru, speaking on behalf of young people who have experienced care, said:
“This is a brilliant opportunity for care leavers in Wales. It is good to see that care leavers in Wales are being thought of and Welsh Government are providing this opportunity for them as young people to become responsible, control some parts of their lives and have a chance to thrive and be financially independent.
“We thank Welsh Government for investing in them and their future and we look forward to other changes and developments for care experienced young people in Wales in order for them to reach life aspirations.”
Notes to editors
An off-the-record technical briefing for media about how the Basic Income pilot scheme will work, who will be eligible, how long it will run for, etc, will be held with Welsh Government officials via Teams at 14:30-15:30 on Monday, June 27. If you would like to attend please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for joining instructions.
Attached pictures include First Minister Mark Drakeford, Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt and Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan meeting with care leavers who have helped shape the Basic Income pilot at Tramshed in Cardiff on Friday, June 24.
Sarah Thomas, Director of Wales, Fostering Network:
“For a care experienced young person the arrival of their 18th birthday marks more than just adulthood. The duties placed on those who have raised them as their ‘corporate parent’ come to a close and this sets them apart from other young people. Wales’ commitment to piloting the Basic Income demonstrates that care experienced people in Wales are held in mind after they turn 18, this is unique and something to be celebrated. We look forward to listening and learning from the young people who access the pilot, we believe that each and every child has a right to financial stability.”
- The total Basic Income support will be £1,600 per calendar month (pre-tax) for a period of 24 months, starting on the first day of the calendar month immediately following the calendar month in which the recipient’s 18th birthday falls. After tax, the amount each recipient will receive per month is £1,280.
- The Basic Income Pilot cohort will be limited to care leavers who reach their 18th birthday between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023.
- The pilot will run for three years with each member of the cohort receiving a basic income payment of £1600 per month (before tax) for a duration of 24 months from the month after their 18th birthday.
- Participants in the pilot can choose whether to receive this payment either monthly or two times a month. It will be paid to them by an external provider.
- The payment will be taxed at the basic rate of tax at source.
- Participation in the pilot is voluntary. Eligible young people will be supported by their local authority and provided with advice funded by the Single Advice Fund, to decide if taking part in the pilot is the right choice for them.
- Welsh local authorities will play a critical role in delivering the Basic Income pilot. They will act as a first point of contact for the care leavers and will be responsible for guiding the young people in their care through the pilot. They will also provide vital feedback to Welsh Government on the pilot as it is rolled out.
- The Welsh Government involved care leavers directly in the development of the pilot, as well as working with professionals in local authorities and have also established a Technical Advisory Group, chaired by Professor Sir Michael Marmot, bringing together experts in basic income and support for care leavers to inform the development and evaluation of the pilot.