Plan unveiled for 5,000 people in Wales to trial Universal Basic Income

131020 cardiff city centre masks lockdown wales PA
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Five thousand residents in Wales could take part in a two-year trial of Universal Basic Income, meaning they would receive regular and unconditional cash payments.

It is designed to ensure everyone has a guaranteed income - regardless of their circumstances.

The pilot would run in both urban and rural areas across Wales.

The plan would see two pilots organised at the same time and would include every resident in the selected areas, including children and people beyond working age.

The pilot would cost £50 million per year to run which amounts to 0.6% of the Welsh Government's 2021-22 budget.

According to Autonomy, the independent think tank behind the plan, a guaranteed basic income offers "a direct way of alleviating poverty" and can also help to "overcome hurdles in the current UK welfare system." 

The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford announced last month that his Welsh Labour Government intended to pilot a Universal Basic Income.

However, the plan needs the support of the UK Government before it can go ahead.

Will Stronge, Director of Research at Autonomy, said:

"All the evidence suggests that a guaranteed basic income would directly alleviate poverty in Wales and this plan sets out a sensible approach for the Welsh Government to follow in planning and devising a pilot.

"A well-designed pilot for Wales must be inclusive and broad enough in its scope to be able to capture evidence from across both rural and urban communities.

"However, there is a major elephant in the room which is whether the UK Government will cooperate or not to allow a pilot to go ahead."

Guy Standing, Professor of Development Studies at SOAS and founder of the Basic Income Earth Network, said:

"Having been involved in pilots in North America, England, Finland, India and parts of Africa, I am enormously impressed by the energy behind making Wales a pioneer of what should become national policy after the Covid-19 pandemic. 

"We need resilience, and only basic income security can provide that."