A survey of people with learning difficulties in England paints
a “bleak” picture of their lives, a campaigner says.
Andrew Holman, director of Inspired Services, claimed the survey of
nearly 2,900 people with learning difficulties “questions how much
progress has been made with the Valuing People programme”.
The report found that one in 20 people with learning difficulties
had no friends and did not see anyone from their family. One in six
who were of working age had a paid job, compared with two-thirds of
men and more than half of women in the general population, while
only about half of those who were parents looked after their
It also found that people with learning difficulties helped by the
Supporting People programme were more likely to live in deprived
Holman claimed many people with learning difficulties were losing
out because there was a lack of central guidance for local
authorities on implementing Valuing People proposals. “I would have
hoped that by now we would have seen a more encouraging picture,”
However, Rob Greig, the director of the Valuing People programme
said progress was being made in supporting people with learning
difficulties. He admitted the report was a “fairly accurate
reflection” of their lives, but insisted that improvements would be
Greig said there was more emphasis on people with learning
difficulties compared with a few years ago, and used the example of
how its focus on individualised budgets had grown out of work in
the learning difficulties field. He added that his “hunch” was that
the situation was “even bleaker three or four years ago”.
The government published the Valuing People white paper in 2001 and
the survey took place in 2003-4.
Consultant Simon Cramp, who has a learning difficulty, said the
survey showed more work needed to be done. However, he said Valuing
People had done him “a world of good” and enabled him to set up his
own business. He believed that it was “helping to make life better”
for people with learning difficulties.
Adults with Learning Difficulties in England at