Mark Drakeford, First Minister of the Government of Wales (center), Beth Winter, Labor MP for Cynon Valley, and Guy Standing, co-president of BIEN, at the Labor Party Conference

There will be a basic income experiment in Wales in 2022. The First Minister in the devolved Welsh government, Mark Drakeford, has announced his full commitment to rolling it out in the Spring. Following an opinion poll showing that 69% of Welsh people wanted their government to conduct a basic income pilot, the Future Generations Commission arranged for a background report to be prepared, and at an event at the Labor Party Conference in the seaside town of Brighton, Mark Drakeford said he intended to devote the remainder of his time in office to advancing basic income in Wales. He was sharing the platform with Guy Standing, co-president of BIEN, who is advising the Government and Commission on the design of the proposed experiment. Coordinating the plans is the Taskforce for Tackling Poverty in the Welsh Government, headed by Sarah King. 

At present, the main proposal is to give basic incomes to “care leavers”, that is, young people emerging into adulthood from care homes. If restricted to those, it would not be a proper basic income pilot, which requires everybody within a geographic community to be covered. In effect, it would be a test of an individual, unconditional modest cash transfer. Given the UK government’s rigid adherence to strict conditional means-tested benefits, which is causing widespread deprivation and a regime of sanctions, the proposed pilot could still prove valuable. However, discussions on the design, sampling and duration are still ongoing. Everything depends on resource constraints.

About Guy Standing

Guy Standing has written 5 articles.

Guy Standing is a Professorial Research Associate at SOAS University of London and a founding member and honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), a non-governmental organization that promotes a basic income for all.