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Friday, March 04, 2005

Labour pledge flounders

The Labour Assembly Government are doing a good job yet again in demonstrating how writing manifestos on the back of an envelope does not lead to good governance. The Western Mail this morning reports that Labour are letting down the most vulnerable people in society by failing to deliver its key election pledge to provide free home care to disabled people.

Documents released to the paper show that the policy has not been introduced because of a failure to agree on a definition of the word "disabled". The Assembly Government plans to organise an extensive consultation exercise on it later this year. However, not only did Labour publish its own definition on its website at the time of the 2003 Assembly elections but there is also an official definition of a disabled person contained in the Department for Work and Pensions' criteria for benefits such as the disability living allowance.

Why, then, the Government need to consult is a mystery. There are two possible explanations. Either they have found that they cannot afford to implement the pledge and are trying to wriggle out of it, or they have been told by Westminster that to introduce the measure in Wales will undermine the UK Government's resistance to free personal care and that they must desist or at best delay until after the General Election.

Whatever the reason this a very tawdry and shambolic state of affairs that raises doubts about the competence of Labour to govern Wales.
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