Details of the Welsh basic income pilot announced

Jane Hutt, Minister for Social Justice

Who will participate in the pilot?

The pilot will be targeted at care leavers. All young people leaving care who turn 18 over a 12 month period, anywhere in Wales, will be invited to participate in the pilot.

How long will the pilot last?

Participants will receive the payments for 24 months starting from the month after their 18th birthday.

How much will the basic income payments be?

£1600 will be paid as a basic income per month. This is reportedly the highest level of payment for a basic income pilot anywhere in the world.

Principles of the pilot

  1. Taking part in the pilot should make no participant worse off

Critiques of the pilot

The main critique of the pilot has been that it is targeted.

What will we learn from this pilot?

We are yet to see a comprehensive evaluation framework for the pilot. But the statement from Minister Jane Hutt states the pilot,

The Scottish basic income experiment feasibility study theory of change framework
The Stockton pilot randomly selected 125 people from applicants who met a range of criteria, including income
  1. Things that happen to the majority of participants can tell us what is likely to happen across the population as a whole. Care leavers have a different experience to others in society. But if some of the impacts are really strong (e.g. most participants experience improved well-being that can be shown to be directly caused by the basic income) it’s possible this would be true for the wider population. If we then look at other pilots and find that the participants there also experienced the same thing, we can start to assume that this would be true for a universal basic income as well as a care leavers’ basic income.
  2. What happens during the 2 year pilot period and in the years that follow can tell us whether this is an effective policy to improve outcomes for care leavers. This pilot is a great test of how effective a care leavers’ basic income would be. We can measure outcomes during the 2 year pilot period and see what impacts participating in the pilot has in the long term (e.g. do we see that participants experience poverty at a lower rate than the average care leaver 5 years after the pilot ends). If it is shown to be a really effective policy then this makes a strong case for rolling it out as a permanent policy.
  3. The impacts on the care leavers who participate can be compared to the experience of young people who didn’t receive a basic income to see if this is an effective policy for young people. We might see that people who participate in the Welsh pilot end up in an improved position when compared to the entire population of young people (e.g. participants have a higher level of financial well-being than the average person of the same age). This would indicate that a basic income for young people would improve these outcomes across the board.

Are care leavers the right choice?

At the Basic Income Conversation we think they absolutely are.

Now is the time

This is perhaps the first hopeful news we have had in some time.

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Basic Income Conversation

Basic Income Conversation

Working with people, communities & sectors to understand what a basic income could do for the UK. Led by Cleo and Lena. basicincomeconversation.org