Wales politics

Tory AM's autism law bid to go to assembly

Health Minister Rebecca Evans
Image caption Minister Rebecca Evans has previously said the government does not see the need for an Autism Bill at the present time

A Tory AM will have the chance to make a new law on autism in the assembly after he won a ballot.

Paul Davies and other Tory AMs had bid to introduce a bill to offer more support for people living with the condition.

The assembly regularly holds ballots to give backbenchers the chance to propose laws.

The Welsh Government has said the "door is very much open" for the introduction of an autism law,

But it has also said it wants to give other legislation and policies the time to "bed in" before it decides whether there is a need for such a measure.

Winning the ballot means Mr Davies will be able to introduce his bill in the Senedd, although he will need a majority of AMs to support him for it to become law.

Image caption Paul Davies said the autism bill was a great opportunity

Mr Davies' bill aims to introduce a strategy for meeting the needs of children and adults in Wales, and ensure councils and health boards understand and take necessary action so children and adults get the support they need.

Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Mr Davies said: "This is a great opportunity to ensure that Wales is leading the way in providing effective, consistent services for those affected by autism.

"It is my hope that AMs of all parties will support this legislation, which can supplement the Welsh Government's autism strategy and give it the teeth it needs to ensure that it is more than just a voluntary wish list."

Opposition parties have backed proposals for an autism bill.

But public health minister Rebecca Evans told a Senedd debate in October: "The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 will transform the way that we meet the needs of all people with care and support needs, including people with autism and their carers."

She added: "I do think, to conclude, that there is now a need to give the new legislation and policies the time to be delivered, time to bed in and to demonstrate their effect, before we can decide whether there is a need to introduce another piece of legislation."

However, she told BBC Wales the "door is very much open" for the introduction of a law to guarantee the rights of autistic people in Wales.

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