Plaid Cymru has promised a “new approach” to providing welfare support for disabled people, it has been announced today.
The party’s candidate for Arfon, Hywel Williams, launched a scathing attack against the government’s “ideological attempt to dismantle social protections” and the “totally unacceptable” demonisation of disabled people.
Mr Williams said Plaid Cymru would work with disabled people to ensure their rights are at the heart of a ‘new welfare state’, as part of a ‘four-point commitment’ to all disabled people in Britain.
Plaid would also help disabled people find ‘meaningful employment’, provide better childcare provision for children with disabilities and work to ensure that school pupils are taught ‘inclusive values’ to help prevent discrimination.
Plaid Cymru’s Arfon candidate Hywel Williams said: “Punitive policies such as the Bedroom Tax have been hallmark of the coalition government.
“The last Tory-led government’s ideological attempt to dismantle social protections has been a travesty for disabled people. It has eroded the support available to disabled people and has sometimes demonised them which is totally unacceptable.
“The current Westminster government brought in many changes to disability benefits such as the phasing out of Disability Living Allowance and its replacement with the Personal Independence Payment. We opposed this at the time believing that the government was using it as cover for implementing cuts.
“In Wales, we support the continuation of the Independent Living Fund, and support its continuation in England in the next parliament as it has funding implications for Wales.
“Successive Westminster governments have reduced the support and entitlements available to disabled people, and Plaid Cymru will continue to work to reverse this trend.
“We want a new approach to welfare support, developed and designed by working with disabled people themselves, so that we can put their right sat the heart of a new system.
“Plaid Cymru will also help disabled people find meaningful employment through Job Centre Plus by putting the focus on helping people into work rather than punishing them for the disadvantages they face.
“We want to help equalise a young disabled person’s life changes by improving the provision of childcare for children with disabilities and by adopting a values-based approach in schools we will help prevent discrimination.
“Whilst the bankers and reckless politicians caused the financial crisis, it is the most vulnerable in our society that have been punished by regressive Westminster policies. It’s time to reverse this trend.
“Plaid Cymru wants to put values back at the heart of society.”