Wales is trialling a £1,600 a month Universal Basic Income for care leavers

'We want all our young people to have the best possible chance in life and fulfil their full potential'

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The Welsh government has announced that young adults leaving care in Wales will be offered £1,600 a month for two years as part of a universal basic income trial.

That means around 500 18-year-olds will be receiving the money as a ‘safety blanket’ as they enter adulthood. The payments will begin from 1 July and the Welsh government hopes that it will help them “on a path to live, healthy, happy and fulfilling lives.”

A statement from the Welsh government announcing the launch of the pilot said: “The radical approach has trust, autonomy and respect at its centre. It will provide independence and security to people who have faced immense challenges during their childhood, giving them greater control and empowering them to make decisions about their future.

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

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.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We want all our young people to have the best possible chance in life and fulfil their full potential. The state is the guardian of people leaving care and so has a real obligation to support them as they start their adult life.

“Our focus will be on opening up their world to all its possibilities and create an independence from services as their lives develop.

“Many of those involved in this pilot don’t have the support lots of people, myself included, have been lucky enough to enjoy as we started out on our path to adulthood.

“Our radical initiative will not only improve the lives of those taking part in the pilot, but will reap rewards for the rest of Welsh society. If we succeed in what we are attempting today this will be just the first step in what could be a journey that benefits generations to come.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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