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Published on 11 February 2014 01:30 PM

Age Cymru has long campaigned for rights to independent advocacy services for older people in Wales.

We campaigned for advocacy duties to be included in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill and for advocacy services to be provided free at the point of use.

We are delighted that the Welsh Government has now stated publically that it is in agreement with us on this.

In a press notice issued today, Deputy Minister Gwenda Thomas said:

“...This debate will show that we are listening.

“For example, I have previously made it clear that I saw the potential to charge for the new advocacy services in certain circumstances as both necessary and appropriate. However, I have been keen to take into account the views of stakeholders including the Commissioner for Older People, Barnardos, Age Cymru and the Social Care and Wellbeing Alliance. I have also listened to the representations I have received from members.

“On the basis of this, I have decided it is appropriate to reconsider the issue of charging and would encourage members to support amendment 78A, tabled by Lindsay Whittle AM in January. A vote in favour of that amendment will mean that the charging provisions will be removed from the new advocacy section, which I hope will be inserted through amendment 78”.

This is great news for us and all the other organisations who joined us in a united call for advocacy last year.

We look forward to the vote this afternoon which should confirm rights to free advocacy services in the Bill.

For more information: Call Age Cymru Advice: 08000 223 444