Mencap responds to new Welfare Reform White Paper
Wednesday 10 December 2008
David Congdon, head of campaigns and policy at learning disability charity Mencap, says:
"We welcome the focus of the Welfare Reform White Paper in highlighting the capacity of people with a learning disability and their ability to work.
"However, we are deeply concerned that the payment-by-results culture is likely to disadvantage people with a learning disability who may take longer to make the transition to work and who may be more expensive to support, resulting in cherry picking.
"Research shows that many people with a learning disability are keen to have a job, yet only 17% of people with a learning disability are in paid employment.
Unless the government provide appropriate, specialist support for people with a learning disability to move into work with the ongoing funding this requires, people with a learning disability will continue to be the disabled group most excluded from the work force."
Notes to editors
- Mencap works with people with a learning disability and their families and carers.
- 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability.
- A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops before, during or shortly after birth. It is always lifelong.
- Learning disability affects someone's intellectual and social development all their life. People with a learning disability find it harder than others to learn, understand and communicate.
- People with a learning disability don't get an equal chance in life. Mencap fights to change laws and services and to provide better access to education, employment and leisure facilities, supporting thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
- It is not a mental illness and should not be confused with mental health issues. It is not dyslexia or aspergers syndrome.
- 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.
- 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