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03 October 2013

Protect preventative services from cuts

An open letter has been published in the Western Mail today:

SIR – With the National Assembly for Wales facing some of the toughest budget decisions in its history, we are calling for Assembly Members to use their political power and influence, to help protect vital services.

Falling revenue budgets mean vital services will be cut, but we believe the Welsh Government should prioritise preventative services. We strongly believe that cuts to the Supporting People Programme and Care & Repair Cymru budgets will have a detrimental impact on those in need and would actually mean increased demand and costs for the NHS and Social Services.

The Supporting People Programme helps 56,000 people each year to live independent lives. It currently funds a variety of support services for disabled people, ex-Forces, those with mental or physical health problems, young and older people and the homeless.

The recently -launched Welsh Government Framework for Action on Independent Living highlights the Supporting People Programme in Wales as good practice.

During times of economic uncertainty, there is often a rise in mental ill health, domestic abuse and homelessness.

Coupled with our increasingly ageing society, demand for housing-related support provided by Supporting People and Care & Repair is only set to increase.

In the past, the Welsh Government has maintained impressive levels of spending on preventative services, so we are hopeful they will continue to acknowledge their true worth.

We urge AMs to support the cross-party Statement of Opinion on Protecting the Supporting People budget.

NICK BENNETT, Community Housing Cymru; EWAN HILTON, Gofal Cymru; AURIOL MILLER, Cymorth Cymru; CHRIS JONES, Care & Repair Cymru; KEITH EDWARDS, CIH Cymru; ANTONIA WATSON, The Wallich; RHIAN DAVIES, Disability Wales