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Plaid Cymru rejects ‘punitive’ welfare reforms

Plaid Cymru has outlined its commitment to free care provision for older and disabled people in its manifesto published this week.

The party stressed that it was opposed to means-testing allowances and would campaign to abolish the difference between nursing and personal care. It urges the necessary powers to enable these plans to be devolved to the National Assembly.

In addition, Plaid Cymru calls for all powers over mental health to be devolved to the National Assembly and reaffirms its commitment to Community Wellbeing Centres, which would promote wellbeing, as well as tackle illnesses, across Wales.

‘The London parties are planning slash and burn cuts to Wales’ budget and our public services. All this at a time when experts recognise that Wales is already being short-changed by the London Government by over £300million every year,’ the manifesto states.

‘Our vital frontline health and education services here in Wales need to be protected from these severe cuts. Only Plaid will do this. Think about it…’ it added.

In its manifesto, published on Tuesday, Plaid stressed that the party is opposed to Labour’s Welfare Reform Act, which it believes links benefits payments to work and threatens benefit sanctions for those unable to meet ‘unfair and unrealistic government demands’. Plaid Cymru believes it will result in a vicious cycle of people who live between in-work and out-of-work poverty.

‘We oppose the use of punitive sanctions for the one million people claiming incapacity benefit who suffer severe mental health problems,’ the manifesto states. ‘We also oppose the privatisation of back-to-work services and the compulsory drug testing of claimants.”

Unemployed people should be supported into work, consistent with their abilities, capacity and their individual circumstances, it adds.

The manifesto stresses that Plaid Cymru will call on any incoming Westminster government to agree to a referendum to ensure the National Assembly can get on with the work it insists is needed to improve the lives of the people in Wales.

The party will also call for the continuation of the commitment to end child poverty from the next government. But it highlights that pensioner poverty is also endemic and states that providing a decent pension is the answer.

Under its plans, the over 80’s would receive a single person’s pension of £130 per week or a couple would receive £202 per week. Over time, this would be extended to all pensioners.

Plaid also pledged to provide affordable and good quality childcare for all families who need it in a bid to help people return to work should they want to.

Link to Plaid Cymru manifesto
http://www.plaidcymru.org/uploads/publications/467.pdf

Link to story on BASW’s manifesto
http://news.basw.co.uk/post/505750485/basw-calls-for-a-social-work-election