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Local MP helping to bring autism law nearer

February 12, 2009 10:03 AM

Tom Brake MP has brought the first ever autism law a step closer for local people affected by the condition, by supporting a bill currently going through Parliament.

The Autism Bill, backed by The National Autistic Society and 13 other autism charities, needs 100 MPs to vote in its favour on the 27th February. Tom Brake MP has pledged to be there on the day, on behalf of local people affected by the condition, and to help end the unacceptable postcode lottery of autism services across the UK.

Tom said; "Services for people with autism are often disregarded yet autism affects people up and down the country. The Autism Bill could make a huge difference to thousands of lives in Carshalton and Wallington - I will be there to vote on the 27th and I hope many more of my colleagues will show their support. "

Tom's decision to back the bill comes after the NAS I Exist campaign revealed many people with autism don't receive the kind of support that would help them achieve their potential in adulthood and at least 1 in 3 adults with the condition are experiencing serious mental health difficulties as a result. Local authorities have been surprisingly slow to react; around two thirds of local authorities in England do not know how many children with autism there are in their area and just two are aware of the number of adults with the condition.

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the NAS, said; "We are delighted to have the support of Tom Brake MP and strongly urge other MPs to follow his lead. The Autism Bill is a huge step forward in ensuring a brighter future for people with this serious, lifelong and disabling condition, but we urgently need support to make this law. Without the right help autism can have a profound and sometimes devastating effect and we will keep campaigning until we see real change at a local level."

The Autism Bill aims to place a duty on local authorities to recognise and fulfil their responsibilities towards people with autism. Measures proposed include: improving local information on the number of children and adults with autism, providing effective support from child to adult services and tackling the chronic lack of help for adults with the condition.

The Autism Bill is being taken forward by Cheryl Gillan MP, who was first out of the private members' ballot.

The NAS, the UK's leading autism charity, is urging local people to email their MP to back the bill at www.autismbill.org.uk/autismbill.

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