Edel Harris, CEO of the learning disability charity Mencap, said:

“These findings are a stark reminder that many people with a learning disability are still stuck in lockdown as the rest of the country starts to go back to normal. The coronavirus crisis only worsened the levels of isolation and loneliness that people with a learning disability already faced and now, despite the easing of lockdown, things are as bad as ever. Over a third (36%) of disabled people report they are still spending too much time alone – the same level as during the peak of lockdown in April. On top of this, almost half of disabled people (46%) are experiencing worse mental health compared to one in five (18%) non-disabled people. This dismal picture is likely to be even worse for people with a learning disability who often face higher levels of social isolation and more mental health issues.  

“The provision of social care is often key to ensuring people with a learning disability can lead a happy, fulfilled and independent life, yet it’s been stripped back at a time when it’s needed most. A recent survey from Mencap found that seven in ten (69%) people with a learning disability have had their social care reduced since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We need significant investment in social care now and a bold plan for reform in the future to make sure people with a learning disability can get the support they need.”


For further information or to arrange an interview with a Mencap spokesperson, please contact Mencap’s media team on: media@mencap.org.uk or 020 7696 5414 (including out of hours).  

About Mencap     

There are approximately 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 (8am-6pm, 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.