Wales has announced it will roll put a new trial for care leavers this year, it will be one of the most generous basic income schemes ever trialled in the world. The new pilot will see any young people that will leave the care system at the age of 18 a chance to get £1600 a month for two years. The new scheme will see around 500 people will be eligible for the trial which will cost the Welsh Government £20 million over the next three years.
Anyone leaving the care system who turn 18 during a 12 month period, across all authority areas will be offered the opportunity to take part in the new pilot which is going to begin at the beginning of the next financial year. The £1600 basic income wage is equivalent to 70% of the average salary in Wales, which is £562.80 a week or £2,251 a month in 2021.
The Welsh Government involved care leavers directly in the development of the pilot as well as professionals in Local Authorities to establish a Technical Advisory Group, chaired by Professor Sir Michael Marmot. Ministers want to use the scheme to assess the impact receiving a basic income has on young people as they leave care, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Professor Sir Michael Marmot said: “The Technical Advisory Group for the Welsh Basic Income Pilot want to put on record our support for this policy. Whilst we may have differing opinion on how a basic income can work on a wider scale, we can all agree that any scheme aimed at helping a particularly vulnerable group should be welcomed and intend to provide Welsh Government with the support it needs in making this a success.”
Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said: “Our Basic Income announcement compliments the Welsh Government’s ambition to ensure the most vulnerable in our society are supported. We know we’re in the midst of a cost of living crisis and we’re determined to continually look at how best to support individuals in Wales who live in poverty. Yet, too many young people leaving care continue to face significant barriers to achieving a successful transition into adulthood. Our Basic Income pilot is an exciting project to deliver financial stability for a generation of young people that need it most.” “The pilot is specifically being designed to enable participants to receive more than just a basic transfer of cash; support will also be offered that is designed to build up their confidence to negotiate the world outside of care.”