This year’s Conservative Party Conference was in Manchester city centre. As Part of my role as Parliamentary Affairs Support Officer, I attend major party conferences on behalf of Mencap to make sure the interests of people with a learning disability are represented.
I started conference by handing out leaflets to promote the Care and Support Alliance’s meeting on social care. We had a full house for this meeting and I asked a question on what the Government is going to do to get more money into social care for people with learning disability. After this I did some networking at the Health and Care Forum Reception, speaking to the Editor of The House magazine.
After breakfast on Monday I headed to the Health and Care Forum Debate and I asked a question about how the NHS can be more consistent and give doctors and nurses more learning disability training. The CSA had a meeting to discuss social care and how we can campaign to get a good social care system that works for people. On Monday night I attending the Leonard Cheshire Disability roundtable meeting with Oonagh Smyth, Mencap’s Director of Strategy and Influence, and the Minister for Disabled People, Penny Mordaunt MP. We talked about creating employment opportunities for people with learning disability, apprenticeships and benefit cuts. It was a good opportunity to speak to the Minister and talk about how the DWP can help people with a learning disability.
Tuesday morning started with a discussion about how to improve social care and it was an interesting discussion. I asked a question on how properly funding social care can help people into work and also reminded the audience that they need to talk about social care for people with learning disability. After this, I went to a fringe meeting on social housing and I asked the panel about what the Government needs to do to make sure people with learning disability can live independently and side-by-side with other people in the community. The panel agreed that this is important and more housing needs to be built.
Later I headed to United Response’s event about employment. People asked questions about PIP and a person with a learning disability shared his experience about getting a job.
He talked about the support he needed to get and also do his job. Mark Harper MP was also on the panel and spoke about the work he is doing and some of the things the DWP is doing to support disabled people into work, including changing attitudes.
I finished conference with an interesting meeting with Chris Skidmore MP to talk about the importance of making voting accessible for people with learning disability.