The Welsh Government is currently among a small but growing group of governments world-wide testing out the benefits of a basic income scheme.
The Basic Income for Care Leavers in Wales Pilot is currently supporting 500 young people leaving care with an income of £1280 (after tax) per month for three years. In England, think tank Autonomy have recently submitted a proposal to run two small basic income pilots – in East Finchley and Central Jarrow, Northumbria.
Research from our colleagues at the International Public Policy Observatory found that the evidence on basic income schemes is mixed, with particularly promising effects in terms of wellbeing outcomes.
The Wales Centre for Public Policy was asked by the Welsh Government to convene a conference to explore the evidence base and to discuss the Welsh pilot and its evaluation. The event was attended by care leavers and leading British and international academics and policy experts on the subject.
WCPP’s Greg Notman has published a blog highlighting five key takeaways from the conference:
1. We need to look beyond employment outcomes when evaluating basic income pilots. A basic income provides the opportunity to retrain, start a business or learn new skills so an emphasis on the labour market alone does not provide the full picture.
2. ‘Not everybody wants a goat’*! Individual freedom is seen in studies around the world as a key benefit of basic income schemes.
3. Wellbeing can be improved by increasing autonomy and reducing independence on others. WCPP’s work on poverty highlights the relationship between poverty and poor mental health; a basic income can help to lift the associated mental load.
4. Recipients themselves are key to determining which outcomes are most important for evaluation.
5. The success of the Welsh pilot will rely on engaging but not over-burdening some of the participants, who, as care leavers, are part of a small but already highly researched group
CLICK HERE to read the full blog and CLICK HERE to watch and read highlights of the WCPP Basic Income for Care Leavers in Wales Pilot conference.
In the coming weeks we will be publishing two more blogs on basic income, by two leading academics in the field – Professor Guy Standing, and Dr Francine Mestrum.
* Not Everybody Wants A Goat In Kenya | Foreign Correspondent – YouTube