Photos of the Autism Bill papers

 

A proposed new law for autistic people in Wales has failed to secure enough support from Assembly Members at a crucial vote in the National Assembly, losing out 28 votes to 24.

While there was support for the Autism (Wales) Bill from the Welsh Conservatives, Plaid Cymru, UKIP and some independent Assembly Members, the Welsh Government and Welsh Labour backbenchers voted against meaning the legislation will not be allowed to develop further.

Paul Davies AM won the ballot to introduce autism specific legislation in March 2017. Since then he has been developing his Bill in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders including autistic people and their families and carers.

Three Committees in the National Assembly have also scrutinised the Bill, with the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee saying that there is a pressing need to improve support and services for autistic people and their families and across the country.

During the debate however, the Health Minister, Vaughan Gething AM, said that legislation was not needed because the Welsh Government is committed to improving autism services in other ways and intends to introduce a code of practice on autism services.

 

Paul Davies and Vaughan Gething at the National Assembly in Wales Paul Davies (left) and Vaughan Gething (right) at the National Assembly

 

Speaking after the vote, Meleri Thomas from NAS Cymru said:

‘We’re disappointed that the National Assembly has voted not to let the Autism Bill be developed further. Since the vote, we have been inundated with messages and comments from our members and supporters across Wales expressing their frustration at the result. Many feel that they just haven’t been listened to. Please be assured that we will hold Welsh Government to account on its commitments to improve autism services.

‘We’d like thank Paul Davies AM and his team for their considerable efforts in bringing this Bill forward and highlighting the issues that autistic people and their families face in their daily lives. We’d also like to thank the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee for its recognition that services and support for autistic people is not good enough and in urgent need of improvement. Finally, we’d like to thank all those who have supported the campaign and the Bill, especially those autistic people and their families who have contributed so powerfully to this process.’

 

Watch the debate or read the transcript.

Find out how your Assembly Members voted

Read the summary