Wales politics

Welsh autism law bid receives backing in Senedd

Paul Davies
Image caption Paul Davies says autism services have been patchy

Plans for a new law giving people with autism more support have been backed by two-thirds of assembly members.

Conservative Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies said the bill was needed as children and adults had not received the help that they should.

Tory, Plaid Cymru and UKIP AMs joined Labour backbenchers in voting to allow the plans to proceed, while Welsh ministers abstained.

Mr Davies now has 13 months to draft a formal bill which could become law.

It would require a strategy to be introduced ensuring councils and health boards take the action needed to support people with the condition.

Ministers say £13m is being spent on a National Integrated Autism Service over the next four years.

The Welsh Government maintains that there are already "legislative and policy levers to support people with autism in Wales" but says the situation will be kept under review.

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But Mr Davies told BBC Wales that services "have been patchy in the past".

"We need legislation to ensure these services are put on a statutory footing," said the Preseli Pembrokeshire AM.

"What this bill will also do is ensure there are clear pathways to diagnosis [and] that staff dealing with people with autism get the right training as well."

Mr Davies won a ballot in March to present a bill in the assembly.

In October a Conservative motion calling on Welsh ministers to introduce an Autism Bill was defeated in the assembly.

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