Mencap responds to today’s Queen’s Speech and calls for more ambitious reform and funding for social care.

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

“We are bitterly disappointed that social care only got a passing mention in today’s Queen Speech. Where’s the ambition and funding when people are being left without the vital care and support they need to get by? Simply tinkering with parts of the system, at a time when the whole care sector has borne the brunt of this COVID crisis, risks becoming the Prime Minister’s legacy, rather than heralding a 1948 moment for social care as part of our national recovery. 

“During the pandemic, people with a learning disability had their care cut when they needed it most, they 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 matched his words with action to level up the social care system. We need social care to help everyone in this country who needs it, including working-age people with lifelong needs. Working conditions for low paid yet invaluable care workers must improve and disabled people should not be left without care to live healthy and happy lives. The Government must deliver ambitious reforms and proper funding to create a world class social care system we can all be proud of.”

Read the full transcript of the Queen's Speech online here.


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.