Wales and the General Election

In 5 weeks, the UK will be going to the polls to vote in the 2015 General Election and decide who will form the Government in Westminster.

At first glance, it can be hard for carers in Wales to see what impact the UK election will have on their lives. Many of the things that matter most to carers are now the responsibility of the Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales – key issues such as how social care is funded, the new rights for carers under the Social Services and Well-being Act 2014, and the involvement of the NHS in Wales in planning for, identifying and supporting carers.

CarerWales1But the General Election taking place on 7 May still matters to Wales, and still gives carers in Wales the opportunity to make their voices heard on the important issues. While health, social care and social services are devolved in Wales, important areas such as welfare, including carer’s allowance and employment, aren’t.

And beyond those areas that remain the responsibility of Westminster, the outcome of the election on 7 May, and the Government that is formed as a result, will have a direct impact on what the Welsh political parties are debating in the run-up to the National Assembly for Wales election in 2016.

UK-wide Carers Trust has called on political parties to remember carers and has listed 10 key priorities for carers including allocated funding for breaks for carers, treating carers of people with mental health as partners in care and no charging for the support carers need. Making sure that these priorities are high on the agenda in the General Election will help us make sure they remain high on the agenda in the Assembly Election.

WalesCarer2As part of Wales Carers Alliance, one of our priorities will be to ask candidates on their views on carer’s allowance – should it be devolved, as is proposed in Scotland? What should the eligibility be? Should it be available to carers in full-time education? We will be asking candidates these questions in the coming weeks.

And just as we will be working with Wales Carers Alliance to ask questions of Welsh candidates, making sure they know the importance of financial support for carers, you can make your own voice heard too. Write to your candidates, tweet at them, attend local hustings. Ask them about what difference they will make on what matters to you. Make sure that Westminster candidates know about the contribution that carers make in Wales and about the support and services that carers need.

And finally, use your vote. You can register to vote online if you haven’t already, and must do this by 20 April. When registering you can apply for a postal or proxy vote if you need one. Registration is now individual rather than household, so make sure that anyone else in your household who wants to vote is also registered. You can read more about how to register to vote on the Carers Trust website.

Kieron Rees is Wales Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Carers Trust


April 2, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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