Our response to the Queen’s speech

This is what Learning Disability England thinks about the Queen’s Speech (21st June 2017).

The Queen’s Speech is the first speech when a new government starts. It says what the new government wants to do before the next election. You can read a longer technical version here.

It did not say much about what they would do for disabled people.

They talk a lot about older people. We said they need to think about disabled people too.

They said they will ask everybody how to change money for social care for the better (a consultation).

They say that they will involve people who use social care and families.

They did not talk about supported housing. This needs sorting out very soon and is worrying.

They talked about building more housing. They need to make sure that people with learning disabilities can also get housing, not just supported housing.

They said they will work to stop disabled people being treated differently to everyone else in the workplace (discrimination).

We think this is good.

In the next few years there will be a lot of talk about Brexit. LDE will work with our partners at BILD and NDTi in the government’s Health and Wellbeing Alliance to make sure the most important issues for people with learning disabilities and their families will be talked about.

Quotes about the Queen’s speech

Mark Brookes, Campaigns Advisor from Dimensions said:

“discrimination is just one reason why people with learning disabilities don’t have jobs. We need to  help companies employ people with learning disabilities and change attitudes”.

Liz Wilson, LDE Member and family carer said:

“the last government took away funding from the National Forum and National Valuing Families Forum and I’m worried that there won’t be a co-ordinated voice of people with learning disabilities and families”.

Tracy Hammond, Learning Disability England Director of Operations says:

“getting more funding is important but to give disabled people real control over their lives, we must also think about providing social care in new and better ways”.

A longer technical version

 

The Queen’s Speech to Parliament yesterday was perhaps notable more for what was not in it than for what was. Supported housing, social care funding and the employment gap remain key issues for people with learning disabilities and we want to see this recognised in the government’s agenda over the next parliament.

Social care funding featured heavily in the election. We believe a solution is needed to close the growing gap in social care funding and to enable good providers to continue supporting people with high quality care. People with learning disabilities make up 12% of adults supported by local authorities, many of whom are of working age and their needs must be considered in any forthcoming consultation.

Tracy Hammond, Operations Director at Learning Disability England said, ‘We welcome the green paper on solutions to social care funding. Ensuring we have a social care system that enables working age disabled people to live equal lives is about more than funding- we want to see new and better approaches to social care that are led by disabled people and their families.

Liz Wilson, family carer and member of the LDE steering group said ‘ the previous government withdrew funding from the National Forum and National Valuing Families Forum so there is less of a coordinated voice to raise concerns about progress, change and policy direction. It is essential that the green paper meaningfully involves people with learning disabilities and autism, their families, alongside providers and commissioners.’

The previous government consulted on plans to reform supported housing funding mechanisms. We await a response to this consultation, which was not addressed in today’s speech. Forthcoming solutions to supported housing must be aligned with national housing policy, to give people with learning disabilities and autism the option to lead independent lives in appropriate housing of their choice.

The previous government committed to closing the disability employment gap. We welcome today’s commitment to tackle discrimination in the workplace and believe this work should look to successful projects such as Disability Visibility to include people who have been discriminated against in the workplace. We also stress that this will be just one part of closing the employment gap for people with learning disabilities and autism.

Mark Brookes, Campaigns Advisor for Dimensions and LDE member commented ‘It’s not just about stopping discrimination. It’s about encouraging and helping companies to employ people with learning disabilities and autism and changing long-held attitudes.’

The next few years look set to be focused on Britain’s departure from the European Union. At Learning Disability England, we will be working with partners BILD and the NDTi on the government’s Health and Wellbeing Alliance to ensure that other pressing issues also get due attention from policy makers.


With thanks to Andie Gbedemah,
Public Affairs Officer, Dimensions