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This report explores the future of Attendance Allowance in Wales after it was identified by the UK Government as a possible candidate for devolution.
Attendance Allowance is claimed by people aged 65+ who need help caring for themselves because of a disability. The UK Government has announced plans to consult on the devolution of responsibility for Attendance Allowance to Wales – a benefit claimed by more than 100,000 people in Wales at the end of 2015 at a cost of £415 million. ‘The future of Attendance Allowance’ is based on published data and research, as well as a roundtable discussion hosted by the Bevan Foundation and WLGA, which brought together experts in the fields of social security and social care.
The report warns that if the benefit were devolved to local authorities in England, as proposed, it is highly unlikely that it would not also be devolved to Wales. Therefore, the Welsh Government should be taking steps now in preparation. It concludes with five recommendations on how this should be approached:
- The Welsh Government should set up an advisory group of disability, social care and welfare benefits experts ahead of a UK Government consultation on devolving the benefit for new claimants.
- If it were devolved, the Welsh Government should consider the devolution of responsibility for existing claimants to avoid a two-tier system emerging.
- The principles of Wales’ social security system should be determined before the new benefit(s) is designed.
- Funding for the devolved benefit should replicate Scotland’s settlement, which is based on previous year’s expenditure and an additional transfer for administration costs, and is then ‘Barnettised’ for future years.
- A take-up campaign should be run to maximize the number of Attendance Allowance claimants in Wales to give a more accurate picture of all those who are eligible to claim Attendance Allowance.
This publication is the final report for a joint project between the Bevan Foundation and the Welsh Local Government Association.