Edel Harris, Chief Executive of the learning disability charity Mencap, said: 

 “Today’s welcome report from the Public Accounts Committee is yet further evidence of the reality that many people with a learning disability have lived with for too long - social care needs fixing now. 

“During COVID, people with a learning disability have had their care cut when they needed it most, died at shockingly higher rates than the wider population, and the care sector has been pushed to breaking point. It’s time the Prime Minister finally matched his words with action to level up the social care system – now and so it is fit for the future.   

“A further survey released today, from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, reveals the immense pressure on councils as society opens up after lockdown and more and more disabled people and older people require some form of care or support  - just as local authorities are facing huge financial pressures. It is critical that the Government brings forward at least £3.2bn in immediate funding to help the sector deal with the fallout from the pandemic and ensure people get the support they need.

“We also desperately need the Government to commit to ambitious and long-term social care reform – which includes taking into account the needs of working-age people with lifelong conditions or disabilities – to create a world class social care system we can all be proud of.”


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

Notes to editors:   

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: www.mencap.org.uk       

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap’s Freephone Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (10am-3pm, Monday-Friday) or email helpline@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.