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Older people legislative proposal is ‘historic opportunity’ for Wales

A Bill that would protect and promote the rights of Older People has been hailed as a ‘historic opportunity for Wales’.

Darren Millar AM, the Assembly Member for Clwyd West, called on his Welsh Assembly colleagues to ‘seize the opportunity’ so that they can lead the world on promoting the rights of older people.

According to Welsh Government figures there are over 800,000 people in Wales aged 50+, over a quarter of the Welsh population. This is set to rise to more than one million people in the next twenty years.

Mr Millar won a ballot in November allowing him to introduce a proposal for legislation in the Welsh Assembly, and his plans will be subject to a debate and vote in the Senedd later today.

If implemented, his proposals will:

• Further enshrine the rights of older people within Welsh law by placing a duty on public bodies, namely the Welsh Government, local authorities and local health boards to have regard to the UN Principles for Older Persons

• Place a duty on the Welsh Government to promote knowledge and understanding of the rights of older people across Wales

• Promote ageing well, and embed older people's wellbeing where public services are delivered by local authorities and local health boards

Proposals for a Bill have previously received cross-party support and the Welsh Government supported a motion which was agreed by the National Assembly for Wales on 12th January 2016 to bring forward legislation to protect and promote the rights of older people.

Speaking prior to the debate, Darren Millar AM said:

“Wales was the first UK nation to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law, the first to establish the Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act 2010, and the first nation in the world to appoint an Older People’s Commissioner.

“We now have the historic opportunity once again to lead the way on supporting older people and human rights by backing plans for an Older People’s Rights Bill.

“I urge colleagues on all benches in the National Assembly need to seize this historic opportunity so that when other countries look for best practice of a place that respects and protects its older people, Wales will be first and foremost in their mind.”