Today the Prime Minister gave a speech at the  Conservative Party Conference about his vision for the country post-COVID-19.

Mencap responds to the Prime Minister's speech.

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

“We are pleased that social care reform is still high on the Prime Minister’s agenda, but without additional funding to stabilise it he may not be able to fulfil his ambition to “fix social care once and for all.” The social care sector was on its knees before the coronavirus pandemic and increasing support needs and the soaring costs of delivering care during the pandemic means many social care provider organisations are struggling to make ends meet.

“Support workers have been doing extraordinary work in extremely challenging circumstances, risking their lives to support those who need it the most. In many cases, they are the only contact some people have. It is about time our Government “care[s] for carers as they care for us” by giving them a well-deserved pay rise for the vital contribution they have made, not just during the coronavirus crisis, but every day of the year.

“It’s important that reform works for the whole social care sector and not just ‘care homes.’ Over half of the social care budget goes towards assisting working-aged disabled adults who are often in receipt of support in their own home or within supported living settings. Mencap will work with the Prime Minister and others to reform social care so that the system works for everyone, regardless of age or disability.”


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

Notes to editors

1. Mencap is calling for:

  • a clear plan for supporting the whole care market, including services for work-aged disabled adults which currently make up over half of the total social care budget
  • additional funding to meet current demand for support and stabilise the sector
  • a road map towards the Government's plans for social care reform, including a long-term funding solution, fairer access to services and support and workforce reform
  • Social care reform and long-term funding must cover a range of services and support that people with a learning disability need beyond personal care to enable them to lead independent and fulfilling lives in their community.

2. The social care sector needed an £8 billion investment in social care in England is needed to restore adequate levels of quality and access to what it was a decade ago, according to the Lords Economic Affairs Committee report. While the Association of Directors of Adults Social Services’ latest Budget Survey revealed that there is a growing hole in local authorities budgets for services supporting people with a learning disability – up to £200m in 2020/21 from £180m in 2019/20.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to local councils in England facing at least a £6.6bn increase in social care costs up to the end of September, according to the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adults Social Services.

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

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap’s Freephone Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (9am-6pm, Monday-Friday) or email   

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.