“A pilot universal basic income (UBI) scheme is to be launched in Wales, the first minister, Mark Drakeford, has revealed.
The new minister for social justice, Jane Hutt, a close ally of Drakeford’s, will be asked to work on the pilot.
Under a UBI system, every citizen, regardless of their means, receives regular sums of money for life to cover the basic cost of living. Its proponents argue that it can alleviate poverty and give people time to retrain and adapt to changing workplaces, be more creative and become more active and engaged.
In the build-up to this month’s elections in England, Wales and Scotland, the UBI Lab Network, a worldwide group of activists, researchers and citizens, asked candidates to sign a pledge promising to put pressure on governments and councils to launch trials. Twenty-five candidates who went on to win seats in the 60-strong Senedd signed up, as did 29 in the Scottish parliament.
Earlier this week a Welsh government spokesperson sounded a cautious note, saying: “In principle, the idea of a universal basic income has its benefits. To introduce this in Wales would require an active commitment from the UK government as the welfare system is not devolved.”
In an interview on Friday with Greatest Hits Radio, Drakeford went further. When asked if he would press ahead with a pilot, he replied: “Yes.”