Page last updated at 09:59 GMT, Tuesday, 21 September 2010 10:59 UK

Equality of opportunity committee

Social Justice and Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant told the equality of opportunity committee that there has been a slow, but marked, improvement in accessibility of polling stations.

The committee was gathering evidence on 21 September 2010 as it looks at ways the assembly government and other organisations could improve the accessibility of polling stations.

Findings by the charity Scope, during a review of May's general election, illustrated that whilst legislation and guidance have created the impetus for significant improvement, the implementation and enforcement of this on the ground has fallen short.

Veronica German, Liberal Democrat AM for South Wales East, referred to the report's findings that staff training at polling stations was just as much of an issue as the resources available.

The Labour AM for Mid and West Wales, Joyce Watson, raised concerns that over two-thirds of polling stations in Wales have one or more significant access barriers to disabled people.

The minister praised the committee for the work it has done in pushing the agenda forward, but said there was still work to be done.

Mr Sargeant also gave an update on the single equality scheme, which is an assembly government initiative to tackle equality, diversity and human rights issues across gender, race, disability, religion, age and sexual orientation.

The Conservative AM for South Wales East, Mohammad Asghar, asked the minister what progress had been made to help older and disabled people to live in their own homes.

Mr Sargeant said that £7.5m had been provided in 2009/10 by the assembly government to keep people in their homes.

He also reassured members that the tough economic times would not result in a change of priorities.

Equality of Opportunity Committee membership

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