Wales

Wales 'behind' on independence for disabled people

Wales trails the rest of the UK in helping disabled people to live independently, says a charity.

Disability Wales told a Westminster inquiry that the lack of a Welsh strategy on independent living disadvantages disabled people.

The inquiry is discussing whether changes to the law are needed.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said that improving services for disabled people across Wales remained a priority.

Independent living would "be the best way to mitigate cuts in services and benefits," argued Disability Wales

Rhian Davies, its chief executive, who addressed the Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry, told BBC Radio Wales that a Welsh strategy would lead to bodies such as councils, health trusts and police developing action plans and co-ordinating spending.

"People need support with everyday tasks such as washing and dressing, getting up," she said.

Ms Davies said it was about "being in control of that personal assistance, not just waiting for someone to turn up at times convenient to the service - it's about meeting your own needs".

"It's not just about getting out of bed, it's about being able to be part of your community, whether that's through voluntary work, or whether that's through education and learning".

The charity said that national policies had been introduced in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and has presented a petition with over 700 signatures, calling for a Welsh strategy, to the Welsh assembly's petitions committee.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "We are committed to improving the lives of disabled people by ensuring that they are able to live independently for as long as they choose.

"The work on independent living for disabled people is to be considered as part of the implementation of the Equality Act 2010.

"The Welsh Government is the first government in the UK to introduce specific regulations, including the disability equality duty to support the wider duty imposed by the Equality Act and these regulations will bring about real changes in terms of people's life chances and life experiences."

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