He spoke of his desire to push forward with the roll out of Universal Credit, the need to halve the disability employment gap and the role of new Work Coaches in Job Centre’s.

Rossanna Trudgian, Head of Campaigns at the learning disability charity Mencap, said:

“Disabled people will be disappointed to hear little in Stephen Crabb’s first major speech as to how this Government will overturn the harmful effects from the past 6 years of cuts to benefits and the social care sector.

“The Government’s commitment to halve the disability employment gap is a noble one which the Secretary of State reiterated today, but the heavily criticised cut to Employment and Support Allowance and equivalent in Universal Credit, flies in the face of this commitment, with almost half of disabled people saying this cut will mean they return to work later.

“New Work Coaches were talked of; however we have known that people with a learning disability have been continually failed by Job Centre staff that do not understand their learning disability and place unrealistic demands on them, leading to sanctions and pushing people to moments of crisis. It’s crucial these new Work Coaches have the correct and sufficient training in learning disability.

“Disabled people have seen support stripped away from them from every angle with huge cuts to benefits and social care in the past 6 years. If this Government is to regain the trust of people with a learning disability the new Secretary of State will need to signal a clear break with the past, reversing cuts to ESA WRAG and creating a work programme that actually works for disabled people.”

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For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5414 ormedia@mencap.org.uk 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.

www.mencap.org.uk  

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 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.

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’.