Today sees a Plaid Cymru-initiated debate on the Welsh Independent Living Grant in the Senedd.
Coincidentally, the Welsh Government yesterday announced it was pausing its controversial plans to axe the grant, which enables disabled people in Wales to live independently and manage their own affairs. The pause comes after relentless pressure coordinated by Wrexham campaigner Nathan Lee Davies and many others. The debate was intended to maintain the pressure on the Labour Government, which had decided to follow the Tory line in Westminster and axe the grant.
Responding to the decision by the Welsh Government to bring in revised arrangements for the Welsh Independent Living Grant, Leanne Wood AM, Plaid Cymru shadow minister for social justice said:
“The Welsh Government should just have the guts to admit it got this wrong from the very beginning. After the proposed changes are filtered through, we should have a situation where no disabled person has lost out on care. However, we will be spending considerably more money on administration and reviews to get to this point than if the Welsh Government had just adopted the Scottish and Northern Ireland approach of retaining the fund – as we argued for at the time.
“The problems identified that have led to this suspension of the transition were entirely predictable and have caused disabled people a great deal of anxiety and stress. All because Welsh Labour have been too stubborn to listen to disabled people and their own party activists over the bureaucrats in local authorities.”
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru AM for North Wales, has campaigned on behalf of WILG recipients for the past year and said:
“Without the tireless campaign of disability activists such as my constituent Nathan Lee Davies, it’s unlikely this U-turn would have happened. Disabled people would have faced yet another significant cut to the support they have and a loss to their independence.
“Questions have to be asked about why the Welsh Government made the wrong decision in the first place and what it really says about how much it listens to disabled people. Where has the government been before now in acknowledging its proposals wouldn’t work?
“Coming twenty-four hours before Plaid Cymru’s debate to save the Welsh Independent Living Grant, they clearly did not relish defending their failed policy.”