Edel Harris, Chief Executive of the learning disability charity Mencap, said:

"It’s an insult to support workers that the Government claims to value their work yet thinks minimum wage is fair pay.

"The Government shouldn’t suggest that there is little they can do about it when it is their responsibility to set national policy and funding levels.

"Support workers have been doing extraordinary work supporting the most vulnerable in our society in challenging circumstances throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Some have sadly lost their lives and yet the social care sector has had to fight every step of the way for parity with NHS colleagues, including when it comes to access to testing and PPE.

"Beyond gestures, such as the care badge and clapping for carers, support workers have seen little recognition for their incredible work on the frontline during this crisis.

"It’s the Government’s responsibility to legislate and properly fund support worker pay – they must be valued and paid on par with healthcare workers.”


For further information or to arrange interviews with a Mencap spokesperson, contact Mencap’s media team on:

Notes to editors

About Mencap

There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want. 

Visit www.mencap.org.uk.

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap’s freephone Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (8am-6pm, Monday-Friday) or email helpline@mencap.org.uk.     

What is a learning disability?

  • A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life
  • Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’
  • People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.