Mencap's response to the Queen's speech, the Equality Bill and the Welfare Reform Bill
Wednesday 03 December 2008
Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of Mencap, says:
"The Welfare Reform Bill is, contrary to its intentions, set to further exclude people with a learning disability from paid employment unless the government provides the appropriate, specialist support for people with a learning disability to move into work, with the ongoing funding this requires. We are also deeply concerned that the payment-by-results culture is likely to disadvantage disabled people with complex support needs who will take longer to make the transition to work and who may be more expensive to support.
"We welcome the suggestion that the forthcoming Equality Bill will include a duty on public authorities to collect and publish clear information about their progress on increasing their number of employees with a disability. However, unless this data monitors disability by category those furthest from the labour market, such as people with a learning disability, will continue to be left behind by the equality agenda.
"The announcement of a new carers' provision, which is intended to make the negotiation of flexible working hours easier, is a positive move for families with a disabled child. Many families who care for children or adults with severe, profound and multiple learning disabilities will welcome the new right to claim 'discrimination by proxy' against their employer if they are treated unfairly."
Notes to Editors
- People with a learning disability are the most excluded group of disabled people from the UK work force, with only 17% compared with 49% of disabled people as a whole and 74% for the working-age population as a whole. This is despite the fact that 65% of people with a learning disability want to work.
- Mencap works with people with a learning disability and their families and carers.
- 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability.
- Learning disability affects someone's intellectual and social development all their life.
- It is not mental illness. It is not dyslexia.
- It used to be called mental handicap but we don't use this term anymore because most people with a learning disability find it offensive.
- People with a learning disability don't get an equal chance in life. That's why we fight to change laws and services, and directly support thousands of people to live their lives the way they want.
- For information about learning disability issues please call the Learning Disability Helpline (England) on 0808 808 1111 or visit www.askmencap.info
- For online press information, go to www.mencap.org.uk/press