Reacting to today's (Wednesday 1 November 2017) announcement by Government delaying the decision on funding of overnight sleep-in care back-pay liabilities for at least another 12 months, Royal Mencap Society Chairman, Derek Lewis said:    

"Despite the Government’s stated commitment ‘to creating an economy that works for everyone’ it appears ready to sacrifice the well-being of some of the most vulnerable members of society and place at risk the jobs of people who are among the lowest paid. 

“Today's announcement may help HMRC understand the extent of the liabilities for back pay but it completely fails to give any reassurance to people with a learning disability that their homes and care are secure and to carers that their jobs are not under threat. 

“Three months on from the Government’s commitment to seek a solution to the devastating £400 million liability hanging over the sector, there is only the promise of further delay and no commitment, even in principle, to accept responsibility for a liability created by Government changing the rules.

"The Government has put in place a new 'voluntary' compliance regime to help HMRC assess the back-pay liability of individual providers, which will crystallise the debt. They will then have three months to pay. Details of the scheme have not yet been made available.  Many providers, particularly smaller ones, may be reluctant to take part in the absence of any funding assurance, concerned that they will be writing their own suicide note.

"Meanwhile, although Government has belatedly issued guidance to local authority care commissioners that they should in future be funding the increased cost of sleep-ins, over half of local authorities are still refusing to do so. It is quite wrong that providers should be expected to subsidise the increased cost of ongoing sleep-in care."


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’.