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MSJ and DMSS with young care leavers

“We are investing in the lives of those who need a helping hand,” says Social Justice Minister after meeting with care leavers benefitting from Basic Income pilot scheme

“Rydym yn buddsoddi ym mywydau'r rhai sydd angen help llaw," medd y Gweinidog Cyfiawnder Cymdeithasol dilyn cyfarfod â phobl ifanc sy'n gadael gofal sy'n elwa ar gynllun peilot Incwm Sylfaenol

“We are investing in the lives of young people who need a helping hand to achieve their potential,” Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt has vowed after meeting with those taking part in a Basic Income pilot scheme in North Wales.

Launched in July, the scheme will see more than 500 people turning 18 and leaving care in Wales being offered £1600 each month (before tax) for two years to support them as they make the transition to adult life. 

It is hoped the pilot will set care leavers on a path to live healthy, happy and fulfilling lives.

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

In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, it is hoped the lessons learnt from the pilot scheme can benefit future generations to come by helping them overcome barriers they face starting adult life. This could benefit them and wider society.

After launching the scheme with the First Minister and Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan, Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt and the Deputy Minister met with a number of young people benefitting from the pilot at Conwy Business Centre earlier today (Friday, 28 October) as part of National Care Leavers Week.

“It has been fantastic to hear about how the pilot scheme has already impacted the young lives of those taking part in it,” she said.

“Our ambition for the scheme is that it will allow the young people who are benefitting to make their own choices, whether that means they are able to choose where they live, what jobs they can apply for, whether to continue studying or deciding to go and travel the world.  The life choices of looked after children should not be determined by the circumstances of their childhood.

“It is heartening to hear how many have already received support to take the first steps to achieve this and it puts them in good stead for the future.”

She added: “We want them to have independence as they get older, and by giving them a helping hand as they start their adult life we can improve their chances of doing so.

“By providing financial stability to a generation of young people facing huge barriers to reach their full potential, we are giving them the tools to overcome them and thrive.”

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.

Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan said: “It has been heartening to hear from the young people the impact the pilot scheme has had on their lives. We’ve learnt a lot from meeting with them today and we appreciate them sharing their thoughts with us

“We are committed to providing support to the most vulnerable in our society, many of whom have grown up without a support network through their formative years.

“We hope this scheme, as well as the advice and information available to them through it, will give them the confidence and strong foundations to achieve their dreams.”

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.

Emma Phipps-Magill, of Voices from Care Cymru, also attended the meeting and said: “We have already seen the pilot have a positive impact on young care leavers as they adapt to having financial independence.

“We are still at a very early stage of the pilot, but they have grasped the opportunity with both hands and have already made progress with many of their goals.”

Notes to editors

  • 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.