Councils are being urged not to cut learning difficulties services to alleviate spending pressures.
Campaigners voiced concerns this week over the financial strain on services and called for more resources and better planning.
Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, said: "Our fear is that the spending pressures will result in random cuts to services, which will have a devastating effect on people's lives. The government has to think about investing more, but modernising services such as day centres and empowering service users will lead to a better use of money and better outcomes."
David Congdon, head of policy at Mencap, said the "huge" demand for learning difficulty services would need urgent funding.
Lord Victor Adebowale (pictured), chief executive of Turning Point, warned that money that had been "trumpeted" through the government's flagship Valuing People policies for people with learning difficulties "had not been translated into funds for front-line services".
He added: "The worry must be that funding issues will have a knock-on effect on the government's ability to deliver its priorities for the future, such as tackling costly out-of-borough placements and improving learning difficulties services for black and minority ethnic communities."
A judicial review preliminary hearing was held this week into Northamptonshire Council's decision to cut 13 services for people with learning difficulties and other vulnerable groups. A judgement was pending as Community Care
went to press.