Plaid Cymru believe in a fair and just society where everyone is treated equally and enjoys the same rights, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.
Against the backdrop of a Tory Party who are intent on undermining the Human Rights Act, we will publish a human rights charter for Wales to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities. We will also seek devolution of responsibility for equalities legislation to Wales.
We will fight for a Wales in which everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, and diversity is embraced and respected. Everyone should be able to feel safe and respected within their communities. We will work with Police and Crime Commissioners to ensure that all hate crime, including homophobic, racist and anti-disability hate crime, is treated as a serious offence by Welsh police forces and investigated appropriately so that victims can feel confident and secure in reporting incidents.
We want to make the consultation of disabled people’s groups a statutory requirement for all future changes to welfare policy, to ensure that the voices of disabled people are always heard when making decisions that will affect them.
Whilst we believe that disabled people should be encouraged and supported into employment, we do not believe it is appropriate to require disabled people to face the same obligations and threats of sanctions in looking for employment. We will establish sheltered employment schemes for those people who need a more supportive environment to return to work, as a stepping stone towards full participation in employment, and will work with accredited employers to create such schemes.
We will ensure local authorities and social landlords provide more disabled friendly and lifetime housing suitably adapted to people’s needs. All schools will have appropriate access for physically disabled pupils. We will ensure that better support is available for people with learning difficulties, including increasing the number of specialist nurses in hospital settings to address inequalities in the provision of health services.
We believe that LGBTQI+ voices and experiences need to be heard and affirmed. Having secured recurrent funding for the Gender Identity Clinic, Plaid Cymru will work to improve the provision and ensure timely access to the service. Schools in Wales will be required to keep a register of bullying incidents related to sexuality, to take action where necessary and to involve students in anti-bullying initiatives. We will promote LGBT+ participation in sport, as part of broader efforts towards healthier lifestyles, and work with clubs and organisations to reduce homophobic, transphobic and sexist behaviour.
Plaid Cymru will support the reform of the Gender Recognition Act to introduce a streamlined, de-medicalised process. We will support efforts to reform the Equality Act to include ‘gender identity’ as a protected characteristic and to remove the use of the terms ‘gender reassignment’ and ‘transsexual’ from the Act.
Plaid Cymru understands that despite the significant progress made, on average, women are paid at lower rates per hour than men for work of equal value and are more likely to be in part-time employment or under-employed.
We are committed to encouraging women’s full and equal participation in the economy by ending gender segregation in the workplace and promoting more flexible working patterns.
We want to promote all careers as being available to men and women. We will support women and girls to follow careers in key growth areas, especially in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) fields. We will create mentorship schemes to increase the visibility of women in non-traditional occupations and senior roles and to increase girls’ awareness of the many different paths available to them.
We will also introduce gender balanced management boards in Welsh Government funded organisations.
Caring for New and Growing Families
Plaid Cymru believes that parents should be supported to work and take periods of leave that reflect modern working practices, including flexible working. We guarantee to protect the right to work of pregnant women and new mothers by supporting a legal ban on employers making a woman redundant throughout pregnancy, and until six months after return from maternity leave, other than in very limited circumstances.
We will also tackle pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace by supporting the call to legislate to add reporting of retention rates for women returning from maternity leave to the existing ‘gender pay gap’ reporting regime.
With a multitude of changes across new parents’ lives, Plaid Cymru will work to support parents’ mental health during what can be a joyous, yet challenging time by extending access to perinatal mental health services, including access to specialist mother and baby units within Wales.
We will tackle loneliness and isolation amongst new parents by establishing local Parent Networks.
Plaid Cymru supports the call for maternity and paternity pay and leave to be extended in the case of babies that are born prematurely (before 36 weeks’ gestation).
The recent Westminster legislation providing for free funerals for babies should be extended to cover those lost to early miscarriage.
Plaid Cymru believes that neuro-diversity should be regarded as an equalities issue, with public services required to make reasonable adjustments in the delivery of services. Consequently, we would make neuro-divergence a protected characteristic under the Equalities Act.
Plaid Cymru will pass an Autism Act for Wales that adopts a rights-based approach for people with autism, or who are suspected of having autism but are yet to receive a diagnosis.
Every child deserves to have the best start in life. Plaid Cymru want our children to live in warm homes, have enough food, to receive high-quality education and to be happy.
The reality is that Wales has the highest rates of child poverty of any UK nation, with one in three children living in poverty. This is a damning indictment of the impact of the Conservatives’ cruel austerity agenda and consequent cuts to welfare, together with twenty years of inefficient governing of Wales by Welsh Labour.
Beyond the statistics, poverty has real consequences for the lives of children in Wales today. Children are being forced to go to school hungry and to bed cold, resulting in a negative impact on their health and education. Poverty can have lasting impacts long into adulthood such as increased risk of homelessness, lower earning potential and greater likelihood of limiting illnesses.
The time has come to take bold action. If we do not, we risk a whole generation of Welsh children in low-income families being left behind.
We will impose statutory targets for reducing child poverty. Early years interventions are vital. We will ensure that coordinated national and local multi-agency early intervention strategies will create a level playing field for each child, whatever their background or circumstances.
The Older Generation
Plaid Cymru recognises the importance of older people to Welsh society and to our economy. Plaid Cymru campaigned for the end of the compulsory retirement age, and will support older people to stay in employment, or find work, if they wish to do so. We will work with third sector organisations and the police to better protect older people from exploitative scams.
Plaid Cymru will protect our pensioners from the stealth cuts that have been inflicted on them over the past decade. We support the Women Against State Pension Injustice (WASPI) campaign and would provide compensation to those women who have lost out from an ill communicated and ill thought through policy. Plaid Cymru supports calls by the UK Mineworkers Pension Association to get the 50-50 split of pension surplus renegotiated. We will continue to demand a fairer deal for former miners to access the money that is rightfully theirs.
We will protect the benefits given to pensioners and will maintain the triple lock on state pensions. We will require the BBC to reverse the cuts to free TV licences. The free bus pass that allows older people to keep in touch with friends and maintain their independence will be protected and we will invest in our public transport system.
We will improve on methods and frequencies of hospital, care home and nursing home inspections to ensure sufficient qualified staff and that there is excellent quality of care and understanding and respect at all times. We will ensure that community workers are able to spend adequate time with older people, and will support community locations for older people so that they can socialise and interact with friends, preventing isolation and loneliness.