One of the world’s most ambitious anti-poverty cash transfer schemes will be evaluated by a multi-institutional team led by one of the UKs leading social care research centres, based at Cardiff University. CASCADE’s Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre will lead the research along with academics from Kings College London, University of Oxford, University of York, Northumbria University and the Centre for Homelessness Impact. 

The Welsh Government’s Basic Income Pilot gives young people leaving care the equivalent of the living wage, £1600 per month before tax, from their 18th birthday for a two year period. The payments will be made to around 550 young people who have their 18th birthdays between July 1st 2022 and 30th June 2023. Limiting the payments to a one-year cohort only will allow the effectiveness of the policy to be evaluated before any decision to expand or discontinue the scheme. 

Young people leaving foster, residential or kinship care are a diverse group but are more likely than their peers to experience poverty, homelessness and poor health and social outcomes. This can be due to a range of factors including early trauma, instability in the care system and lacking family networks, including a ‘bank of mum and dad,’ to act as a safety net. It is hoped that this financial boost will support their health and well-being and facilitate their ability to take up further education, training or employment. 

Jen, a care-experienced adult who has advised CASCADE’s research since it was launched in 2014 said that the Basic Income Pilot is an important policy because: 

“Care leavers face a lot of issues straight away that a lot of their peers wouldn’t face because they have to run a house and start living independently. They don’t have a back-up system where they could go to ask for help”. 

The evaluation is likely to attract international interest due to the pilot’s size and scope. While there are many advocates of cash transfer and universal basic income schemes as a method to tackle inequality and poverty, there is only limited evidence related to their impact. 

The details of the Welsh Government-funded evaluation are being shared today at an online international meeting of academics and policy-makers interested in basic income schemes, hosted by the Welsh Centre for Public Policy. Both CASCADE and the Welsh Centre for Public Policy are based in Cardiff University’s new Sbarc|Spark building, designed to foster creative collaboration between social science research, innovation, policy and civil society.  

The Welsh Basic Income Pilot Evaluation research team are: Principal Investigators Professor Sally Holland and Dave Westlake from CASCADE, Co-investigators Professor Kate Pickett (University of York), Professor Michael Sanders (Kings College London) and Dr Elizabeth-Ann Schroeder (University of Oxford), and team members Professor Matthew Johnson (Northumbria University), Dr Rod Hick and Dr Louise Roberts (Cardiff University), Professor Stavros Petrou (University of Oxford) and Guillermo Rodriguez-Guzman (Centre for Homelessness Impact).