Reacting to todays (Wednesday 26 July) Government (BEIS) announcement to temporarily suspend HMRC enforcement action and waive historical penalties, Royal Mencap Society Chairman, Derek Lewis said:

"As the Government well knows, the critical issue for providers of vital sleep-in care for those with serious learning disabilities, is the unfunded liability for six years’ of back pay.  

The announcement of a brief two-month stay in enforcement action is welcome, as is the assurance that penalties will not be levied on top of the back pay liability but neither addresses the catastrophic impact of the £400 million back pay bill across the sector on providers, people with learning disabilities and care workers in one of the most vulnerable sectors of society.”

Employers are keen to fulfil their responsibilities to employees. But if the Government changes the rules on how sleep-in payments should be paid it must expect to have to pay for the changes. We reiterate our call to Government to accept its responsibility and make an urgent commitment to fund the back pay bill, for the sake of those vulnerable people who depend on this care and for the dedicated people who provide that care.  Time is running out.”


Notes to editors

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.

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’.