Letter from the coalition

by Learning Disability Voices

Joint letter calls on Government to step up support for people with learning disabilities

Learning Disability leaders have signed up to a joint letter calling on the Government to provide better funding for their sector or further undermine the transformation programme prompted by Winterbourne View.

The letter, published in The Guardian, says:

“The measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. Last week the Queen’s Speech committed the government to tackle “poverty” and “deprivation” and to “increase life chances for the most disadvantaged”. Yet it contained no mention of one of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in our society: adults with learning disabilities.

“People with learning disabilities and their families rely on the support of care services and charities – it is their lifeline. The right, high quality support makes the difference between someone fulfilling their potential, as independently as they can, at the heart of the community or simply existing.

“While wages are rising care providers have faced huge cuts in local government funding, amounting to 40% since 2010. The fat has been cut. Any further cost reductions go into muscle. We are already seeing care packages being withdrawn, services shut and lives closed down.”

It comes as a new coalition of providers, ‘Learning Disability Voices’, today launch a manifesto demanding a number of policy changes to ensure a sustainable future for learning disability care and support. The ‘Care Crisis Manifesto’ calls on the Government to play its role in ensuring sufficient extra money is put it into social care, to close the large and growing funding gap; bring forward the £700m from the Better Care Fund to this year and amend the policy so local authorities can use the money to support individuals with learning disabilities; give local authorities the freedom to raise the social care precept above 2 per cent; and ensure supported housing remains exempt from the cap on housing benefit. 

In his supporting Foreword to the Manifesto, the former Care Minister Norman Lamb MP says: 

“The Government is burying its head in the sand over a growing crisis in our communities, where our most vulnerable citizens risk losing vital care and support. We must not let the clocks to turn back to the days before personalised and high quality support became the norm. 

“I welcome this manifesto by Learning Disability Voices as an important contribution to the debate on how we might secure a proper settlement from the Government, to ensure that the sector can continue to provide the quality care that people need and deserve.” 

Related: Read Andrew Cannon's article, People with a learning disability are being denied care close to home, on The Guardian's website