The leader of the Welsh Conservatives has called a scheme to allow asylum seekers to be given money 'nonsensical.'

Andrew RT Davies MS, laid bare his disapproval of part of the Labour Welsh Government’s ‘Basic Income Pilot’ scheme which gave care leavers a £1,600 a month income. The scheme included some asylum seekers if they were eligible as care leavers.

Mr Davies said: "Illegal migrants should not be getting a monthly payment in Wales, and this policy from Labour is nonsensical.

"The universal basic income scheme is a colossal waste of tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money and the eligibility of illegal migrants will act as an unacceptable pull factor to the benefit of evil people smugglers."

He adds that new First Minister Vaughan Gething should take accountability for the scheme's failure, stating: "Vaughan Gething should swallow his pride, admit this policy was a failure, and focus on the Welsh people’s priorities."

Mr Davies had questioned the Welsh Government on discussions with the UK Government about asylum seekers' eligibility and their involvement in schemes providing financial compensation, including the Welsh Government's basic income pilot.

Jane Hutt, minister for finance and local government, responded that financial support to asylum seekers in Wales falls under the UK Government, while the Welsh Government is responsible for migrant integration and the wellbeing of those present in Wales.

Ms Hutt stated that the Welsh Government closely collaborates with the UK Government to understand the nature of public funds made available to asylum seekers and ensure they comply with the conditions.

She also clarified that unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people are eligible for the Basic Income pilot as category three care leavers.

This information comes following a joint ministerial letter to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice, issued in March 2023, requesting the UK Government’s stance on legal aid related to the Basic Income scheme.

Editor's note: This article has been amended to make it clearer that the scheme was for care leavers, not asylum seekers in general.