North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has called on the Welsh Government to act on the call for free electrical safety checks for older people in Wales.
Calling for a Welsh Government Statement on the issue of electrical safety and older people in Wales during yesterday’s Business Statement, Mr Isherwood stressed that older people are significantly more at risk than other age groups when it comes to electrical fires in the home and urged the Welsh Government to take action to address the issue.
Speaking in the Chamber, he said:
“At an Assembly event last November, over six months ago, the only charity dedicated to reducing and preventing damage, injuries and deaths caused by electricity, Electrical Safety First, launched their report, 'How can we keep older people in Wales safe?'. With more than half of accidental house fires in Wales caused by electricity, their report found that older people are significantly more at risk than other age groups when it comes to electrical fires in the home. Older people in Wales represent over a third of electrical fire casualties, with people aged over 80 at least four times more likely than other age groups to have been a casualty in these fires.
“The number of people aged 80 or over is expected to double by 2035, with an estimated 50,000 people aged over 65 living with dementia. The majority of older people in Wales—about 80 per cent—own their own homes, most of which will be older housing stock that has never had an electrical safety fire check.
“Based on the research, the report makes a number of recommendations, the first of which is a call on the Welsh Government for a scheme delivering free five-yearly home electrical safety checks for people aged over 80, regardless of property tenure. However, they said that since they launched their report they have not seen any further progress made by the Welsh Government in addressing the issue and ensuring that it is a priority to reduce the number of older people affected by fires caused by electricity in Wales. Given their evidence-based concern, I hope that you will agree that a Statement from the Welsh Government should be forthcoming.”
The Leader of the House, Julie James AM, replied:
“The responsibility is spread amongst a number of Cabinet colleagues, so I will ensure that there's a co-ordinated response and we'll write to the Member with where the Welsh Government is at on that very important point.”