• 50% of social care spending in England is on disabled adults aged 18-64 – a third of whom have a learning disability.
  • Only 5% of local authority Directors of Adult Social Care are confident that budgets will be sufficient to meet their legal duties by 2020-21.
  • £8 billion investment in social care is needed to restore adequate levels of quality and access, according to the Lords Economic Affairs Committee.
  • At least 2,190 children and adults with a learning disability and/or autism currently locked away in ‘modern day asylums’ because the right community support is not available.

Mencap urges the Government to make sure disabled people are not forgotten from the social care debate and calls for long-term and sustainable funding for the social care system.

Dan Scorer, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the learning disability charity Mencap, said: 

“Cross party consensus is a good idea, but they need to get on with it. The extra £1 billion sounds a lot, but is nowhere near enough and the sector cannot continue to limp on sustained by promises of a better future. We need to ensure that whatever plan is agreed, it takes account of people with a learning disability so they can lead full and independent lives in their communities

“Disabled people who have already been left behind by years of austerity are being forgotten from this debate. Support for disabled adults makes up half of the social care budget, of which a third is for people with a learning disability. People with a learning disability are less likely to own their own home or have life savings that can be used to fund their care. A lack of local social care support means people with a learning disability are experiencing loneliness, poverty and homelessness. While we welcome today’s announcement that the Government will seek cross-party consensus on proposals for long-term reform of social care, what we need now is a clear plan from Government and the money the system needs to fix the social care crisis for good, including for disabled people.”

There are 1.5 million people in the UK who have a learning disability, a lifelong reduced intellectual ability which means that people need support with everyday tasks like cooking, travelling, attending appointments, managing money etc. For people with severe or profound and multiple learning disabilities they need round the clock care including help with personal care. 

In the year 2017/18, 150,000 people with a learning disability in England received support from their local authority.

According to the 2019 ADASS Budget Survey PDF, local authorities are facing a £180 million hole in their social care budget to meet the current levels of support being provided for people with a learning disability.

According to data released today from NHS Digital, 2,190 people with a learning disability and/or autism remain locked away in inpatient units, a reduction of 30 in November. Lack of social care and housing provision in the community were the main reasons for delayed discharge, which again impacted on 140 people in November.  

 - ENDS –

For further information or to arrange interviews, contact Mencap’s media team on: 
•    media@mencap.org.uk 
•    020 7696 5414 (including out of hours).   

Notes to editors

1.    Half of social care spending in England is on disabled adults aged 18-64, according to Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report 2018/19.
2.    ADASS (2019) ADASS Budget Survey 2019 PDF https://www.adass.org.uk/media/7275/adass-budget-survey-report-2019_sans-embargo.pdf
3.    Lords Economic Affairs Committee (2019) Social Care Funding: Time to end a national scandal https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/economic-affairs-committee/news-parliament-2017/social-care-report-launch/
4.    The Assuring Transformation data from NHS Digital is the most accurate and up to date account of people with a learning disability and autism in institutions. It is a record of how many are in an institution, how long they have been in for, when their care and treatment is checked and what kind of unit they are in. Latest data shows that numbers have fallen from 2,260 at the end of March 2019 to 2,190 at the end of November 2019.

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.

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-3pm, Monday-Friday) or email help@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.