Mark Drakeford, Wales’ new First Minister, announced soon after the Senedd elections in May that the government will launch a basic income trial in the country. As Basic Income News mentioned over a month ago, the support for trialing basic income in the country has greatly increased and Drakeford has confirmed that a pilot will be launched soon.
Jane Hutt, recently appointed as Minister for Social Justice, will be in charge of the supervision of the project. There is still no definitive information regarding the funding and date of implementation of the pilot, but the government’s commitment is firm. “A basic income pilot is one of the specific responsibilities of our new social justice minister. It will have to be carefully designed, it will draw on the experience of attempted pilots in Scotland, but I have a very long standing interest in basic income”, Drakeford said. “We’ll do it on a cross-party basis. There are 25 members of the Senedd in different parties who have expressed an interest in it,” he added.
The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howes, said that the launching of the pilot shows an “incredibly significant commitment by the First Minister to tackling Wales’ poverty and health inequalities,” and that this trial shows that small countries can lead big policy changes.
Jonathan Rhys Williams, from UBI Lab Wales, said that “this is a huge moment for the basic income movement in the UK and around the world.”
Wales to launch pilot universal basic income scheme. Steven Morris (The Guardian), 14 May 2021
‘Incredibly significant’: First minister commits to basic income pilot in Wales. Nation Cymru, 14 May 2021
It is very important what is happening at this high level in Wales and obviously I agree with those with this initiative, but if they do not go beyond understanding these actions as philanthropic social aid initiatives as wrongly seen sometimes and unemployment benefits or even pensions and not a fundamental human right inextricably linked to the right to life, the road will be clogged with questions such as those asked by UBI opponents and it is a great pity because then many years will pass maybe until the discussion is usefully resumed.