News In Focus
Autism Bill defeated at stage 1
The Autism (Scotland) Bill failed to pass stage 1 in the Scottish Parliament yesterday.
MSPs voted by 109-5 to reject the bill, put forward as a member's bill by Liberal Democrat Hugh O'Donnell. The Parliament's Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee had previously failed to back the general principles of the bill.
Mr O'Donnell said his "simple objective" was to "provide, in a legislative framework, a level playing field for the more than 50,000 people in the country who have autism and to give them the same opportunities to access appropriate support, education and employment as every other citizen of our country has". He claimed that the issue had been given higher priority by government since he put forward his bill.
However members, while agreeing with the bill's objectives, noted that there had been differences even between charities supporting those with autism as to whether legislation was needed, and accepted that the better strategy would be one that was not underpinned by legislation.
Click here to access the debate.