On Thursday, 5 May this year the Welsh public will go to the polls to elect new Assembly Members, who’ll form a new Welsh Government.
The Welsh Government is responsible for Health, Social Care and Education, amongst other important areas of life in Wales. Most of us will use one or all of these vital services so making use of your vote has never been more important.
This year, the biggest battlegrounds have been the NHS and social care, and each party’s commitments to extend or reform childcare.
Four of the main political parties in Wales – Labour, Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats – have all committed to bring forward legislation on Additional Learning Needs (ALN) to reform the Special Educational Needs (SEN) framework, which is great news for children with Multi-Sensory Impairment and complex needs.
So what are the policies that differentiate the parties? To help you think through who you might vote for, we’ve compiled a short summary of headline policies and proposals from each party that may affect deafblind and disabled people and their families.
- Legislate to ensure better collaboration between health and social care.
- Introduce a weekly cap of £400 on residential care and allow people to retain up to £100,000 of savings before introducing charges.
- 30 hours of free childcare for children 3-4 years old, establishing a local key worker to coordinate provision for children with ALN.
- Access to free social care for older people and free eye tests for the whole population.
- Create a free, universal childcare system from birth until formal education and maintain the right of each disabled child to access mainstream education.
- Commit to properly fund social care so that local authorities won’t need to raise Council Tax to cover the costs, as they do in England.
- Increase the amount of savings you can retain before being charged for social care to £50,000
- 30 hours of free childcare for children 3-4 years old but no specific reference to meeting the gap in provision for disabled children.
- Improve the integration of health and social care by permitting providers in a local area to form integrated organisations, delivered jointly by Local Health Boards and local authorities.
- 10 hours of free childcare for working parents of children 9 months and above, rising to 15 hours of free childcare for all children 3-4 years old. This would include ensuring staff are trained to work with disabled children and that new childcare is accessible.
- Fully integrate non-acute health services (everything other than A&E and specialist services) and social care for adults within local authority areas.
- Abolish all social care charges within 10 years, starting with free personal care for older people and people with a diagnosis of dementia.
- Free full time childcare for children aged 3 and above, building the childcare workforce to address gaps in provision for disabled children.
- Integrate the NHS and adult social care under the remit of a newly elected Health Board.
- Introduce SEN onto the Initial Teacher Training programme.
The choice is yours! But, remember, you have two votes at this election – one for your local constituency and one for your region – which means you have twice the choice but twice the power at this historic election. Happy voting!
NB This oldblog provides a short summary of a selection of each party’s commitments in the areas of social care, education and childcare. Full manifestos and commitments can be found on the relevant party’s website. Sense does not endorse any political party. For more information on Sense policy positions, please see our Policy Responses.