A New Voice for Social Justice & Equality

The Challenge

Labour has failed to protect the most vulnerable in our society. They have not built enough affordable homes, not targeted resources to help the poorest, nor done enough to help disabled people live independently.

We know that true prosperity can never be achieved without social justice. The right to participate is a key test of fairness and whether the vulnerable are supported to live full lives. In the 21st century the most successful nations will be those that champion social justice, respect human rights and acknowledge strength in diversity. Within a common core of Welsh and British values, diverse communities must be allowed to prosper.

A New Voice

A Welsh Conservative Assembly Government will be a new voice for disabled people who need support to help them participate in education, work and leisure. We will speak up for ethnic minorities who need the confidence to enjoy their dual or even multiple cultural identities. Carers who contribute so much to society need a voice to ensure regular and reliable respite care. And LGBT people often need protection from bullying and hate crimes, as do other minority groups – all can expect a Welsh Conservative Assembly Government to speak up for them.

A Welsh Conservative Assembly Government will:

Protect the Vulnerable

Promote and integrated strategy to tackle domestic and sexual violence

Ensure that stable, three year funding cycles are available to support rape crisis centres

Require a zero tolerance policy on hate crimes and bullying. We will raise awareness of what constitutes homophobic, racist and gendered bullying.

Continue to support events such as the Cardiff Mardi Gras.

Run a national awareness campaign against elder abuse and age discrimination.

Support the voluntary sector to increase provision of English and Welsh lessons for speakers of minority languages.

Reduce Fuel Poverty

Deliver the key elements of the Fuel Poverty Charter

Place a duty on local authorities to tackle fuel poverty.

Protect funding for the Fuel Poverty Scheme

Develop a targeted policy to help communities that are off mains gas.

Empower Communities

Establish a National Youth Service Scheme for school leavers and yound people who want to work in a community project and develop key skills. The scheme will extend to voluntary work abroad when supported by reputable organisations.

Create a Big Society scheme, where public sector workers are given the opportunity to volunteer for five day annually.

Set-up a network of community “anchor” organisations to support and encourage community enterprise and social entrepreneurship.

Encourage WAG, local authorities, and government agencies to transfer redundant assets to community groups.

Set a target to build at least 10,000 more affordable homes by 2015.

Relate the definition of affordable housing to local price/income ratios.

Examine the case for moving the Deputy Minister for Housing to the Department for Health and Social Services.

Create a single tenure for all Social Housing tenants.

Publish an affordable homes strategy which will also tackle the problem of empty homes. The strategy will be monitored by a sector-led working group on housing delivery.

Fully protect the Right to Buy in Wales.

Encourage housing stock transfer as a means to improve the quality of social housing, empower tenants and deliver Sustainable Community Regeneration.

Focus the home insulation scheme an older, harder to insulate homes.

Help Disabled People to Live Independent Lives

Develop the “Centres for Independent Living” model within Wales by working with local authorities and the third sector. These centres promote and deliver independent living, advocacy, peer support and advice.

Promote the social model of disability.

Encourage the use of direct payments. Too many barriers stand in the way of people who want to use direct payments.

Improve occupational and other therapy services.

Provide better access to lip reading classes in Wales via a National Lip Reading Strategy

Remove Barriers

Develop an “Access to Public Transport” policy. We will work with local authorities and community transport providers to ensure disabled passengers are given the necessary help to travel.

Protect free bus passes for older and disabled people, and extend the scheme to former and serving members of the Armed Forces and carers.

Phase in audio and text announcements on public transport.

Reduce accessibility barriers in polling stations across Wales

Support Carers

Establish a “Carers Right to Respite”.

Entitlement to respite care will taper depending on the hours spent caring per week.

Extend the free bus travel scheme to carers who care for more than 20 hours per week.

Develop the “Caring for Young Carers” programme. In schools, we will require a young carer’s educational support plan. Respite care must be flexible and should ensure protected study time for young carers.

Promote Financial Inclusion

Support greater choice in financial services and promote financial education, especially for those those who experience financial exclusion.

Support the use of credit unions to decrease reliance on door-step lenders; and encourage links between credit unions and post offices, as the preferred method and location for community financial service provision.

Highlight the danger of scam letters, bills and phone calls so vulnerable people don’t face intimidation and lose money.

Tackle Substance Misuse

Create a National Directory of Substance Misuse that gives details of sources for advice and information, treatment and rehabilitation providers.

Increase the use of Tier 4, residential detoxification and rehabilitation centres which have a strong record of helping people back into society and a productive life.

Commissioners

The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and the Children’s Commissioner for Wales will be made National Assembly for Wales appointments.