Today, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined his plans for coming out of lockdown in England.

We will have easy-read information on the latest guidance on our website shortly.

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

“Seeing the easing of restrictions while still not feeling protected will no doubt cause additional anxiety for people with a learning disability and their families. The Government has recognised that people with a learning disability are at increased risk of COVID-19; dying at six times the rate of the wider population. Testing will only go so far to protecting them when the vaccine is really what they need.

“As with previous communication, the Prime Minister’s message today fails to provide a clear route for people with a learning disability and their families. On care home visiting the announcements do not apply to supported living settings and we know of many families who need a lifeline. Their loved ones dont understand why their family members cant visit them and they think theyve been abandoned.  

“This pandemic has been a very testing time for many people with a learning disability, including those who have had their social care cut at a time when they have needed it most. Families are at breaking point. We urge the Government to make sure that society can step up to support people in the right way as we transition out of lockdown. One very practical way would be to deliver additional funding for social care in the Spring Budget next week.”



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

Notes to editors:   

  1. Mencap is calling for:
  • a clear plan for supporting the whole care market, including services for work-aged disabled adults which currently make up around half of the total social care budget
  • additional funding to meet current demand for support and stabilise the sector
  • a road map towards the Government's plans for social care reform, including a long-term funding solution, fairer access to services and support and workforce reform
  • Social care reform and long-term funding must cover a range of services and support that people with a learning disability need beyond personal care to enable them to lead independent and fulfilling lives in their community.

The social care sector needs at least £7 billion investment a year in social care in England by 2023/24, according to the Health and Social Care Committee. While the Association of Directors of Adults Social Services’ latest Budget Survey revealed that there is a growing hole in local authorities budgets for services supporting people with a learning disability – up to £200m in 2020/21 from £180m in 2019/20.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to local councils in England facing at least a £6.6bn increase in social care costs up to the end of September, according to the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adults Social Services.

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 (10am-3pm, Monday-Friday) or email        

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.