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Universal Basic Income in Wales ‘would cut poverty in half’

Poverty in Wales would be halved if the Welsh government established a Universal Basic Income (UBI) system in the country, according to a major study.

The research, conducted by leading think tank Autonomy, found that UBI would reduce overall poverty rates in Wales by 50% and child poverty by 64%, taking it to below 10%. % in Wales.

It is currently at 28% – the worst in the UK.

He also found that almost three-quarters of the people of Wales, 69%, support piloting the UBI.

UBI is a government program in which every citizen receives a sum of money on a regular basis, regardless of their employment status.

This is a minimum payment, designed to meet basic needs, paid to everyone individually, unconditionally.

Earlier this year, the Welsh government announced its ambition to pilot some form of UBI in Wales, but suggested the program would focus on specific groups of people, such as those leaving care.

However, activists including UBI Lab Wales, Future Generations Commissioner Sophie Howe and over 1,000 petitioners have since called on the Prime Minister to ensure the pilot includes children, employees, the unemployed and retirees, as well as people on leave.

Ms Howe, whose role was created under the Welsh Well-Being of Future Generations Act, will testify before the Welsh Parliament’s Petitions Committee on Monday, alongside Autonomy Research Director Will Stronge, calling for a Universal Geographic Basic Income (UBI) scheme.

She said the UBI could offer “a more equal and prosperous Wales”.

“Piloting a UBI trial here in Wales gives us a chance to increase the prosperity of each person, giving more people a life jacket when they need to keep their heads above water – which has the potential to create a healthier and more equal population. ,” she said.

“The findings of this report should excite leaders who say they want a real green and fair recovery that makes life fairer for everyone. “

Mr Stronge said: “The Covid-19 pandemic requires radical and bold changes to help people cope with future economic shocks.

“As the economy and labor market struggle to find their feet, it is clear that securing a minimum income for all is the most progressive way to secure livelihoods. “

Ewan Hilton and James Radcliffe, Managing Director and Policy Officer at Platfform, a mental health and social change charity, will also testify at the session, as will Lydia Godden, from Women’s Equality Network Wales (WEN Cymru).

According to the report, a trial in Wales of 2,500 people could cost around £ 50million, with adults being paid from £ 60 per week.

Those already living in poor health, in poverty or in marginalized communities would have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

The increase in the cost of living, combined with the end of the coronavirus job retention program, also known as leave, in addition to cuts in social benefits such as universal credit, amounts to a “storm perfect “or” tsunami, “according to respondents to a Senedd Committee Survey on Debt and the Pandemic held this month.

A review of a UBI pilot project in Finland, which ran from 2017 to 2018, found that people who participated were generally more satisfied with their lives and experienced less mental strain, depression, sadness and of loneliness.

They also worked slightly more than those who received unemployment benefits and reported better cognitive functioning.

If Finland was the first European country to pilot such a program, it was ultimately considered a failure. However, many experts have since said that the program is flawed because it is underfunded and rushed.

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