Here is Mencap’s response to the Supreme Court’s judgment

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Edel Harris, Chief Executive of the Royal Mencap Society, said: 

“Support workers within Mencap and across the sector do an exceptional job. They are dedicated in their care for people with a learning disability and should be paid more. They are care workers on the coronavirus front line and deserve better recognition in all forms. The Supreme Court in its judgment rightly recognises this. But we understand that many hard-working care workers will be disappointed by its ruling. 

“Mencap contested this case because of the devastating unfunded back pay liabilities facing providers across the sector. This was estimated at £400 million. Sleep-ins are a statutory care service which should be funded by Local Authorities, and ultimately Government. It is no exaggeration to say that if the ruling had been different, it would have severely impacted on a sector which is already underfunded and stretched to breaking point. Some providers would have gone bust and, ultimately, the people who rely on care would have suffered. 

“We believe that the legislation covering sleep-in payments is out of date and unfair and we call on Government to reform it. More widely, they should do a thorough and meaningful review of the social care workforce and put more money into the system so that we can pay our hardworking colleagues better. It is disappointing that there is still no plan for social care reform. 

“Today’s decision means that we can continue our important work which includes fighting for the rights of people with a learning disability, giving information and advice and promoting inclusion, as well as supporting people to live brilliant lives. 

“Until there is a more sustainable solution from Government, we plan to continue to pay top ups for sleep-ins, as we have done since 2017, and will urge Local Authorities to continue to cover this in their contracts.”   


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