Basic income: More than 600 young care leavers receiving £1,600 a month

The payments mean those who took up the offer are hundreds of pounds better off a year.

One year on from a scheme which the First Minister called a "radical experiment" beginning, the Welsh Government is paying more than 600 young care leavers £1,600 a month.

In total, 635 care leavers have signed up for the pilot, which is more than originally thought would have been eligible to take part.

The Welsh Government say the "increase is due to more people entering care and becoming eligible for the pilot during the enrolment year."

The basic income pilot was described as the 'world's most generous' scheme for care leavers when it began 12 months ago.

From July 1 2022, care leavers in Wales were be offered a basic income when they turn 18.

The Welsh Government have paid them £1,600 a month, before tax, for two years. It's the equivalent to an annual salary of around £19,000 and there are with no conditions attached to how they spend it.

The monthly amount works out at around £1,280 after tax and but they lose out on some other payments such as housing benefits.

However, even with those reductions, they are several hundred pounds better off than if they went onto universal credit.

Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said: “The basic income pilot scheme is a fantastic opportunity for some of the most vulnerable people in our society to be given a helping hand during their formative years.

“I’m delighted more than 600 care experienced young people have been eligible to take part in this initiative and are being given the support they need.

Mark Drakeford described the universal basic income scheme as a “radical experiment”. Credit: PA

"The high uptake for the pilot scheme shows the generous nature of the support offered.

“I have met care leavers taking part in the scheme and been overjoyed to hear about the impact it has had on their lives, allowing them to experience things they had never done before and take positive steps that will benefit their futures.”

The opt-in for the scheme has been much high than similar initiatives worldwide, with a provisional uptake of around 97%.

The Welsh Government say this reflects "the generous and innovative offer to this group of young people."

When the scheme began, the Welsh Conservatives said that “giving out free money” is “completely the wrong way” to help care leavers and that basic income schemes don’t work.

The party’s Shadow Justice minister, Joel James, said: "It’s been proven time and again that so-called Universal Basic Income doesn’t work.

"Look at Finland, who ditched their scheme after two years in favour of new scheme that encouraged people to actually take up employment or training."

Perhaps most notably, the scheme came under fire by some Conservative politicians who suggested it was an incentive for asylum seekers to make the dangerous trip across the British Channel on small boats.

This claim has always been denied by the Welsh Government.

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