Page last updated at 18:11 GMT, Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Conservatives debate

Deputy Minster for Social Services Gwenda Thomas conceded that the take up of the direct payment scheme by disabled people to organise their social care is "low" in Wales.

Gwenda Thomas AM was responding to the Conservatives debate on 28 November 2012.

Leading the debate, Mark Isherwood AM said only 2% of the eligible cohort use the direct payment scheme.

"Direct payments are not appropriate for all disabled people, directly funded social care must be maintained," he said, conceding Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat amendments to his party's motion.

"We need to make sure disabled people have a variety of options to enable them to live independently," said Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood.

Conservative AM Darren Millar argued that there is currently a lack of support and information available to service users over the range of options available to them.

Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams AM also argued for more support for users.

"Our group has long argued for greater use and support for direct payments, and personalised budget," she said.

"They offer greater independence, greater choice and greater control for service users.... Even if people are aware the direct payment system exists, they have poor information as to how it works in practice and are put off by it."

The minister said that the social services and well-being bill would deal with most of the AMs concerns.

"It is true that the number of people using direct payments are low," she said.

"Clearly there is more that we can do to promote understanding of the real difference these payments can make.

"The overall aim of direct payments to increase independence and choice which clearly fits with the principle of well-being, central to the social services and well-being bill."

The motion as amended was agreed.

Read this in Welsh.

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