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Party politics make little difference to eligibility criteria, new figures reveal
Friday 04 April 2008
A campaigning group that fights for the rights of people with a learning disability has revealed new statistics that show that the reduction in the number of people eligible for social care is not being driven by councils governed by one particular political party.
The figures from the Learning Disability Coalition* show that Conservative and Labour councils alike are reducing the number of people who have access to social care services, with many only providing services for those with the most severe needs.
- 79% of Conservative councils plan to only provide services for those with critical or substantial needs by the end of April 2008.
- 72% of Labour councils plan to only provide services for those with critical or substantial needs by the end of April 2008.
- 55% of Liberal Democrat councils plan to only provide services for those with critical or substantial needs by the end of April 2008.
The research comes days after the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) began their consultation process inviting people to "have their say" about the issues and problems associated with the current system for deciding who is eligible for council funding and support for social care services.
Dame Jo Williams, Chair of the Learning Disability Coalition and chief executive of learning disability charity, Mencap, said: "The statistics clearly show that this is not something that is being dictated by councils governed by one political party, but is an issue that affects the whole of the country. The fact that so many councils are only providing support for those with the most severe needs shows the urgent need for more money from central government."
Notes to editors
For more information please contact Lucy Pile on 020 7696 6017 or at email@example.com
* The Learning Disability Coalition has analysed data which was originally sourced from the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI).
In response to a question from Anne Begg on local authorities cutting disability services in Aberdeen, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that it was now SNP and Liberal Democrat councils, in addition to Conservative Party councils, which were cutting disability services.
Q9.  Miss Anne Begg (Aberdeen, South) (Lab): What would my right hon. Friend say about a local authority that has slashed services to disabled people in such a cavalier fashion that they are threatening to take the council to court for its failure to comply with its equality duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005?
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The Prime Minister: It used to be the Conservative councils that were the only ones making huge cuts, but it is now Scottish National party and Liberal Democrat councils, which explains what has happened in Aberdeen. I think that people will be particularly sad to hear that members of the disabled community in Aberdeen are the biggest victims of the cuts being brought in by that administration. I hope that public opinion will express itself and say that disabled people should not suffer in that way.
Learning Disability Coalition
- The Learning Disability Coalition is formed of ten organisations: Mencap, Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, Association for Real Change, British Institute of Learning Disabilities, Down's Syndrome Association, National Forum for People with Learning Disabilities, People First, Sense, Turning Point and United Response.
- People with a learning disability don't get an equal chance in life. That's why the Learning Disability Coalition is fighting to get sufficient public funding to meet their rights and needs.
- In 2005-2006 three quarters of councils experienced significant cost pressures for their learning disability services and they were under-funded by £80 million.
- 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability.
- Learning disability affects someone's intellectual and social development all their life.
- Learning disability is not mental illness. It is not dyslexia.
- To find out more, go to www.learningdisabilitycoalition.org.uk.