Welsh Government “reviewing” need for an autism law

Plans to keep the need for a Wales-specific law on autism “under review” have been cautiously welcomed by Welsh Conservatives.

A statement by the Minister for Social Services and Public Health, Rebecca Evans AM, announced a “refreshed” Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Strategic Action Plan.

The Minister said that the revamped strategy would seek to address the problems currently faced by Wales’ 136,000-strong autism community using existing legislation, but did not exclude the prospect for introducing an Autism (Wales) Bill in future.

Assembly Members said that “warm words alone” are not sufficient to address the needs of families affected by autism, and would monitor closely the roll-out of the strategic plan.

Responding, Welsh Conservative spokesperson for health, Angela Burns AM, said:

“We are pleased to see the Welsh Government at last giving consideration to the need for a Wales-specific autism bill, which Welsh Conservatives have campaigned hard for.
“In the meantime, we welcome the launch of their strategic plan, the implementation and delivery of which we will be monitoring closely.

“Warm words alone are not enough to address the needs of families affected by autism, which range from faster diagnosis and proper access to support services.”
Welsh Conservative spokesperson for communities, Mark Isherwood AM, added:

“Without legislation, the Welsh Government’s autism strategy is a voluntary wish list.

“The rights of children and adults with autism spectrum conditions in Wales will not be protected until autism is given its own statutory identity here.

“As Chair of the Assembly Cross Party Autism Group, I will be monitoring closely the implementation of the strategic plan, but I reserve some scepticism as to whether it will work on the ground and will continue to represent the views of the autism community in Wales on the need for an Autism (Wales) Act.

“Families have suffered under an inadequate system for far too long and it’s after time that they were given a system that worked.”

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