Piloting a basic income in Wales: principles, precedents and feasibility

9 June 2021

At a glance:

  • This briefing document provides detail on what a basic income pilot should include and what factors must be considered. It is a collaboration between Autonomy and the Basic Income Conversation.


  • Looking ahead, it suggests the next key steps for Wales The most significant is overcoming obstacles posed by the current devolution settlement. A valid and ethically sound pilot will, at the very least, require cooperation from the UK Government through HMRC and the DWP so that necessary tax and benefit alterations can be made.


  • Effective basic income pilot design must begin
    with a clear understanding of why a pilot is
    being conducted.


  • An option for a basic income pilot design in Wales is presented, with various considerations and lessons from past pilots taken into account.


  • Costings for a pilot are also provided.



Cleo Goodman

James Muldoon

Guy Standing

David Frayne

Jack Kellam


Will Stronge, Director of Research at Autonomy, said:


“All the evidence suggests that a guaranteed basic income would directly alleviate poverty in Wales and this plan sets out a sensible approach for the Welsh Government to follow in planning and devising a pilot.


“A well-designed pilot for Wales must be inclusive and broad enough in its scope to be able to capture evidence from across both rural and urban communities.


“However, there is a major elephant in the room which is whether the UK Government will cooperate or not to allow a pilot to go ahead.”


Guy Standing, Professor of Development Studies at SOAS and founder of the Basic Income Earth Network, said:


“Having been involved in pilots in North America, England, Finland, India and parts of Africa, I am enormously impressed by the energy behind making Wales a pioneer of what should become national policy after the Covid-19 pandemic. 


“We need resilience, and only basic income security can provide that.”

This project was supported by the Guerrilla Foundation.

It is a collaboration with the Basic Income Conversation.