Reacting to today’s (Thursday 28 September) announcement to defer decision on funding of sleep-in overnight care for a further month, pending more in-depth analysis of liabilities, Royal Mencap Society Chairman, Derek Lewis said:

“It is deeply disappointing that, after many months of review and consideration, the Government is still not able to announce any decision on the provision of support for care providers faced with a £400 million back pay liability as a result of changes in Government guidance on payments for sleep-ins. 

“The further delay will mean that people with a learning disability, their families and carers are subjected to yet more uncertainty and anxiety, while providers will be forced to delay essential investment, and local authorities will struggle to persuade providers to take on new contracts.

“It is nevertheless encouraging that the Government appears to accept the need to support the sector in dealing with the £400 million back pay liability. It remains essential that the sector receives full funding for this liability to avoid unacceptable harm to people with a learning disability and insolvencies among providers.

“Ensuring the proper care for those with disabilities and funding the cost of it remains a statutory responsibility of the Government.

“We will work constructively with Government during the next month to deepen its understanding and appreciation of the impact of back pay bills on the sector but the future of learning disability care across the UK is still hanging in the balance.”  


For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5414 or or for out of hours 07770 656 659.

Notes to editors

About Mencap 

There are 1.4 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 the Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, 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.

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.

Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.