Newly released government figures on Supporting People have
confirmed what everybody expected: the axe of efficiency has fallen
hardest on services for people with learning difficulties.
In fact, more than four hundred of the thousand or so Supporting
People services scrapped by councils since 2003 were for learning
difficulties – a far greater percentage than any other client
The cuts raise uncomfortable questions for everyone. Social
services departments are facing additional pressure on their
budgets as they struggle to replace expensive services they thought
they had disposed of and many service providers have had their
But more importantly, this decommissioning bonanza threatens to rob
people with learning difficulties of essential support services,
and in some cases their hard-won independence. It is ironic that,
through chronic mismanagement, a fund which was based on good
intentions will end up damaging the interests of vulnerable people,
rather than promoting them.