Learning disability charity Mencap has responded to the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and Autumn Statement.

Mencap warn that the Chancellor has not done enough to prevent the social care sector moving closer to collapse.

Social care

On social care Jan Tregelles, CEO of Mencap, said: 

"The care system is critically under-funded. Many people with a learning disability are not getting the vital care and support they need, so are stuck at home with nothing to do, isolated and scared about the future.

"The 2% council tax boost to social care and the money that has been made available to the Better Care Fund do not go far or fast enough to address the funding crisis.  In addition, we expected to see additional funding to meet the government commitment around the National Living Wage.  The majority of the additional money is therefore likely to go on implementing the National Living Wage rather than expanding access to care.  

"The Chancellor has not done enough to prevent the social care sector moving closer to collapse.  This would have devastating consequences on people with a learning disability, and when combined with cuts to housing and employment benefits could lead to many people with a learning disability to live in crisis. This would be a significant step back in our fight for a world where people with a learning disability are fully included in our society." 

Lorainne Bellamy, Mencap spokesperson, said:

"I have a learning disability and have been living on my own now for seven years.  My supporter helps me with letters about my tax credits which are really difficult to understand. She helps me read and understand my telephone bills, my gas bills, my insurance and my statements from the bank. She has helped me set up direct debits so I can pay my bills and not get into debt. I used to not get any support at home, I struggled a lot, but this help has made a real difference.

"I know how important the support I have had has been in allowing me to be independent. I am worried that there are people worse off than me who dont get any support at all and worry about what happens to them. The government need to make sure people with a learning disability and their families get the right support."

Benefits

On benefits, Jan Tregelles, said:

"The Chancellor needs to urgently explain whether the Government plans to extend the conditionality on Job Seekers Allowance to sick and disabled people who receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), as many today fear. If true this will make a harsh regime of benefit sanctions, that places unrealistic demands on disabled people, even harsher to those people who rely on support from benefits for their independence, health and to access their community.

"People with a learning disability who are currently on ESA would stand to lose their entire benefit rather than a portion of it if they failed to meet this new conditionality. This comes at a time when almost 7 in 10 disabled people have said cuts to ESA would cause their health to suffer and 40% would become more isolated. This fear and uncertainty will add to the devastating effects the Governments reform of welfare is causing people with a learning disability."

"The Chancellor announced cuts to Housing Benefit, which could seriously impact on people with a learning disability living in social housing and specialist supported housing, jeopardising their ability to live independently in their communities."

Health

On health, Jan Tregelles, continued:

"We welcome the money made available to the NHS. This money has to go to honouring NHS Englands commitment to close institutions like Winterbourne View and bring people with a learning disability and behaviour that challenges back to their local community. While, the government also need to ensure that hospitals do more to end the scandal of the 1,200 people with a learning disability dying avoidably within the NHS every year."