A YOUNG person enrolled in the Welsh Government’s pioneering Basic Income pilot has praised the scheme in supporting her ambition to become a paramedic.
She has spoken as new statistics show more than 600 young care leavers have signed up to pilot scheme in the one-year enrolment period. It also has an uptake rate of 97%, significantly higher than other schemes worldwide.
The basic income pilot scheme provides care leavers turning 18 with the opportunity to receive £1,600 (before tax) per month for a period of two years.
One care leaver who has been taking part in the pilot scheme since September last year has started learning to drive, studying in college and hopes to go to university and become a paramedic.
Lil, who is now renting her own accommodation, said: “It makes you feel financially stable. It helps a lot, especially when you’re reaching adulthood, you start to get those financial worries and you start thinking about your life a bit more. If I had my flat and wasn’t on this pilot scheme I would really be struggling.”
Lil, who is currently studying nursing, medicine and healthcare in college, said she had received support from her young person’s adviser and Citizens Advice to help her manage her money: “When I first got on it, saving money was a big part of it. Since then I have started buying stuff ready for my own place.
“People have helped me manage my money and know what to do with savings. I have someone who talks to me, once or twice a month, just to catch up and see what I’m doing with the money, budgeting and add up how much I spend each month and how much I can save.”
Young people turning 18 between July 2022 and June 2023, who have been in care for at least 13 weeks, were eligible to join the pilot. It was originally estimated that around 500 care leavers would be eligible, but 635 care leavers have enrolled in the scheme. This increase is due to more people entering care and becoming eligible for the pilot during the enrolment year.
The provisional uptake rate of 97% represents a significantly high take-up of this ground-breaking scheme. This is a higher take-up rate than that of other opt-in basic income schemes worldwide, reflecting the generous and innovative offer to this group of young people.
The statistics, published during Basic Income Week, cover the period from 1 August 2022 to 31 July 2023.
Minister for Social Justice and Chief Whip 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. 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.”
Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan said: “We are proud to be giving care leavers a helping hand as they transition into adulthood.
“It is fantastic to hear they are using the support available to learn how to manage their money, make savings and spend wisely.
“We are delighted to see the high take-up levels and look forward to see how they all progress.”
The pilot scheme allows those taking part to choose when they receive their payments. More than half – 353 care leavers (56%) – have opted to have their payment monthly, with the remaining 282 (44%) opting for twice-monthly payments. 164 recipients (26%) have elected to have payments made directly to landlords.
The ability to choose payment frequency and to make payments directly to landlords are two features unique to the this pilot compared to other basic income schemes and were introduced as a result of the extensive engagement undertaken during the policy development.