Rishi Sunak used today’s PMQs to slam the Welsh Government’s plans to hand some asylum seekers £1,600 every month through their left-wing Universal Basic Income scheme. Responding to a question from a Tory MP, the Prime Minister told the Commons: “We’re stopping the boats, Labour’s paying for them!”.
Backbencher Chris Clarkson described Welsh Labour’s plans as “a daft idea”, and asked the PM for assurance that the UK Government will not contemplate the idea in the forthcoming Small Boats Bill.
Mr Sunak responded: “I know my Noble Friend Lord Bellamy and the Secretary of State for Wales wrote to the Welsh Government yesterday confirming that we would not be undertaking their request”.
“Now I note that the Labour leader has said that the Welsh Labour Government is his “blueprint”, and unbelievably – as my Rt Hon. Friend said – Labour in Wales are trying to pay illegal migrants £1,600.
“Mr Speaker, we’re stopping the boats, Labour’s paying for them!”
The PMQs row comes after the Ministry of Justice and Welsh Department told the Welsh Government that any migrants enrolled on the free cash handout programme would then be unable for free legal aid, which is means tested.
In a letter seen by The Express last night, Lord Bellamy said that as the Universal Basic Income scheme gives recipients an income for “purpose of living costs rather than a specified one”, those on the cash trial will be expected to use the money for legal services.
The UK Government says this decision is in line with rules for all British taxpayers, so limited legal aid resources are “directed at those most in need of financial support.”
A row sparked yesterday when it emerged the Welsh government will allow young asylum seekers to enrol on the taxpayer-funded scheme which entitles Welsh care leavers to receive £1,600 per month, pre-tax, for 24 months from the month after their 18th birthday.