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Sunday, September 21, 2003

Where Wales leads...

The Conference is to debate a motion on Wednesday proposing the abolition of all health service charges. This will include prescription charges, dental and eye check-ups, spectacles, hearing aids, false limbs and long term nursing care for the elderly. The £4 billion cost will be met by raising the top rate of income tax to 50% for earnings over £100,000. Wales already set the trend of course under the Liberal Democrat driven Partnership Government. At our instigation the Welsh Assembly Government abolished Prescription, dental and eye-check up charges for some groups and froze the cost of prescriptions for all. Labour picked up on this during the Assembly elections with a proposal to abolish prescription charges altogether. In doing so they ignored a resolution of the Assembly, tabled by Welsh Liberal Democrat AM, Kirsty Williams, to give free medicines to the long term ill. As far as we are concerned that measure should be the first stage towards complete abolition but the indications are that the Health Minister will not go down that route. Calamity Jane, we believe, is proposing to knock a pound off this year and subsequent years until she reaches zero. In doing so she will benefit the rich and the poor equally whilst leaving those with large medicine bills due to their medical condition still struggling to pay the cost. They will only benefit properly at the end of the process. So much for caring-Labour.

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