Coalition calls for adult services cash boost

The forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review should fund services for adults with learning disabilities to the tune of £340m, campaigners including Mencap chief Dame Jo Williams (pictured) have said.

This would match the government’s recent pledge  for disabled children.

In a submission to the Treasury, the Learning Disability Coalition, says adult learning disability services have been “deteriorating” over the past 12 months, with cuts to personal support, education and day centres.

Dame Jo Williams, co-chair of the coalition, said the proposed additional funding of £340 million to adult learning disability services “should be regarded as a down payment” to meet growing demand.

At least 80% of people with a learning disability in the UK are not getting services “tailored to their needs,” and insufficient resources are allocated to deliver government policy objectives for the group, according to the coalition.

It warns that council¹s tightening of eligibility criteria because of financial pressures could also leave some adults with learning disabilities “liable to abuse or neglect”.

The coalition, made up of ten charities, also argues that the recent £340 million investment for disabled children will be “short-lived” unless sufficient resources are found to support children into adulthood.

The charities also want an inquiry into demographic, economic, health and social trends and their impact on the needs of people with learning disabilities by the next CSR in 2011.

Dame Jo Williams said: ³It is estimated that there will be at least an 11% increase in the number of people with a learning disability between 2001 and 2010. And those over 60 are likely to increase by 36%. We must make sure that there are enough resources to support these people, giving them and their families the quality of life they deserve.”

Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down’s Syndrome Association, said the charity was experiencing a “dramatic increase in cries for help” from people with Down¹s syndrome and their families. “Lack of day time activities will lead to mental health problems and early dementia. In the long-term, this will put a far greater burden on the public purse,” she said.

Earlier this year, Rob Greig, national co-director for learning disabilities, told Community Care that each English council would have to increase spending on learning disability services by £1m every year for the next decade to provide good quality care.

The 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review expected in October will set government spending plans for the years 2008-11.
As part of our A Life Like Any Other campaign, Community Care is calling on the government to ensure enough money is available in the system so that promises made in the Valuing People white paper for people with learning disabilities are not broken.

More information
Learning Disability Coalition, made up of 10 organisations

Contact the author
 Maria Ahmed 



More from Community Care

Comments are closed.