Rob Holland, head of Parliamentary Affairs for learning disability charity Mencap said:
“The Electoral Commission’s very welcome report highlights once again - that people with a learning disability are being excluded from democratic process. Without access to easy read versions of voting guides and manifesto’s many voters with a learning disability do not have the tools to make an informed decision, despite often being the first to feel effects of Government policy.
“In the lead up to the 2017 General Election both the Labour Party and Conservative failed to publish accessible easy read versions of their manifesto at the same time as their main manifestos. This meant that people with a learning disability had much less time to digest the policies proposed by the parties and come to an informed view.
“There are over 1 million people with a learning disability eligible to vote in the UK; unless accessibility to voting is improved these votes remain in danger. To avoid this future, it is imperative for all parties to commit to release their manifesto’s in an easy read format at the same time as their other manifesto’s.”
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5414 or firstname.lastname@example.org or for out of hours 07770 656 659.
Notes to editors
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 Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email email@example.com
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’.