Rebuilding Wales after covid-19

The Welsh government set out its approach and plans to reconstruct Wales post Covid-19 in its report by the Counsel General, Jeremy Miles MS, “Covid 19 Reconstruction: Challenges and Priorities on 6th October. Age Cymru, the Older People’s Commissioner and COPA all expressed their concern at what they perceived to be the total absence of older people included in these plans.

The Chair of COPA, Steve Milsom, on behalf of the Board, told the Councel General the following:

“I am contacting you to express our extreme dissatisfaction at your decision not to include older people in your report’s priorities for reconstruction in Wales post-COVID-19.

The Commissioner for Older People in Wales and the Chief Executive of Age Cymru have already written to you about this and we will not repeat the valid arguments that they have made now but you can be assured that we fully support what they have said to you.

You will be fully aware that in equalities legislation, older people are one of the groups who have protected characteristics and we find it unbelievable that in that context you can omit us (when the other groups are covered) from your priorities in this important Welsh Government announcement. More generally you will be aware that of all the sections of society impacted by the pandemic, older people have been the hardest hit. In these circumstances, we call on you to issue a formal statement to the Welsh Parliament to rectify the position and put the record straight in respect of older people in Wales and priorities for reconstruction post-COVID-19.”

The response from Victoria Lloyd, Age Cymru’s chief executive, can be read in full HERE

“……..the Welsh Government wholeheartedly acknowledges the immense contribution older people make to life in Wales. Older people and the broader issue of intergenerational fairness have been at the heart of all our actions, and I believe that is very clear in the interventions we have made in response to the pandemic and in planning for future recovery. We are very aware of the impact of Coronavirus on older people and we have acted from the first to mitigate those impacts and to keep older people safe, as well as to recognise the positive contribution many older people have made to the response to Coronavirus, and we intend to continue doing so.

I note your concerns that the difficulties older people have faced as a result of Coronavirus are not explicitly mentioned in the document as required by relevant equalities legislation. Older people are in fact mentioned explicitly, though not exhaustively, in the document. There are, as I am sure you have noticed, other groups in society that have not been explicitly referenced in the document also. The significance is not the naming of a group, but the substantive action we are taking to support those groups, including older people.”

The full text of the response can be read HERE