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Fair treatment for adults with learning disabilities
Fair treatment for adults with learning disabilities

Fair treatment for adults with learning disabilities

Join our 'It doesn't add up' campaign

The Government must properly fund the National Living Wage before vulnerable people with learning disabilities are left without vital specialist support.

People with learning disabilities are among the most vulnerable in our society.  They rely on specialist support providers like Hft. Without these services, there is a real risk to their continued wellbeing. For some the removal of these services would be truly tragic or life-threatening.

Person we support using tablet

We strongly believe in paying our staff more for their skills and expertise. And we fully support the introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW). But this compulsory increase is not being fully factored into the fees that we are being paid by Local Authorities the majority of which are still based on the National Minimum Wage.


In a nutshell:-

  • The biggest cost for a learning disability support provider like Hft is staff wages – 70-80% of our total costs.
  • We’re funded by Local Authorities who, in order to make savings, have been steadily reducing the hourly rate they pay us over the last five years.
  • The new National Living Wage must be covered in the fees paid by Local Authorities if organisations like Hft are to continue to provide this essential service. 
  • Paying the new National Living Wage added 7.5% to our wage bill in April 2016.  And by April 2020, that bill will have risen by a further massive 25%, adding a third to our wage bill in just four years.


We do not believe that the government has fully understood how serious this situation is. 

No realistic solution has been offered. We believe that without urgent action and funding for the National Living Wage, it is only a matter of time before there is a total inability to deliver this care.

Research commissioned by Hft and carried out by the Cebr, a leading independent economics and business consultancy, examined the impact of financial pressures on the viability of the adult social care sector , with a specific focus on learning disabilities. The results indicated that based on current levels of service, an uplift of at least 5% is needed just to keep the industry breaking even.


Campaign activity to date

Given the pressing nature of the challenges facing the sector, Hft has been working hard to get this issue in front of parliamentarians and the media. Our activities include: 


What we did

What we achieved

Feb 2016

  • Hft launched a petition, promoted via social media, to call for the National Living Wage to be properly funded.
  • More than 3,500 people have signed our petition so far
  • We shared an inquiry proposal with Sarah Wollaston, Chair of the Select Committee on Health, and Norman Lamb, MP.
  • Norman Lamb – reviewed our inquiry submission and Tweeted in support of us
  • Engaged our staff and trustees to write to their MPs, using templated letters outlining the key issues. The letters asked MPs to take action by raising the issue with colleagues or visiting an Hft service to see the impacts for themselves.
  • We wrote to 135 MPs raising wider awareness of these important issues
  • 62 MPs out of 135 responded to our letters – a conversion rate of 46%
  • 19 meetings & 7 visits were organised with local MPs
  • 2 questions were raised in parliamentary questions as a direct result of our campaign
  • 21 MPs have written to or spoken to other key influencers on our behalf

Mar 2016

  • We asked families of the people we support to join the campaign, writing letters to their MPs.
  • 60+ families of those we support, wrote letters on our behalf
  • We shared easy read documents and a presentation with people we support who form the inclusion group ‘Voices to be Heard’, to help them understand the issues affecting them.
  • People we support are interested in getting involved in the campaign and would like to help deliver our petition to MPs

April 2016

  • Campaign resources were made available from the Hft website, including flyers, posters and infographics for use on social media.
  • Ongoing MP engagement  - 7 site visits by MPs are already planned
  • Issue debated at Edenbrige Town Council and the Edenbridge Business forum as result of Hft’s involvement
  • Our first service visit in connection with ‘It Doesn’t Add Up’ took place. We welcomed local MP Mr Zahawi to our Staffordshire service.

May 2016

  • We ran a ‘thunderclap’ via social media to raise the profile of our petition.
  • 102 people signed up to support the Thunderclap
  • The combined reach for these people equated to our message being published to a potential pot of 83,995 people
  • We received 833 click-throughs to our Petition as a result of the Thunderclap

July 2016

  • LD Voices manifesto was launched, working with other organisations across the sector.
  • Our survey had the biggest response rate to date - 37 families interviewed as a result, generating real life stories.
  • 85% of families were concerned on the impact that the introduction of the NLW would have on services.
  • One third cited the fact that the increased costs would ultimately result in a reduction in the quality of care they receive as their chief concern.
  • We surveyed 134 of our families to find out how they felt about the impacts of the introduction of the NLW, to support external PR.
  • We submitted a series of Freedom of Information requests to Local Authorities to produce statistical information about the take up of the social care precept.
  • Submitted FOI requests to 55 key local authorities looking at the impact the National Living Wage will have on their funding for the National Living Wage
  • 100% of respondents said that they were using the full 2% social care precept to match the additional funds
  • 25 of the authorities questioned admitted that this increase would lead to a budget shortfall.
  • 14 of the 25 authorities could not answer how this funding would impact upon local provisions for adult learning disability care.

August 2016

  • We responded to the Communities and Local Government Committee inquiry.
  • Our evidence was accepted as written evidence for the Committee’s inquiry
  • Hft’s submission was footnoted in the final report
  • The CLG Committee report warns of the financial pressures facing the adult social care sector and calls on the Government to take urgent action

October 2016

  • We submitted evidence to a UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) call for information on service provision for people with disabilities
  • Our evidence was accepted as part of the Rapporteur’s call for information
  • Several observations and key recommendations aligned with Hft’s position
  • The Special Rapporteur presented her report to the the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017.

November 2016

  • Our petition closes with 3,880 signatures supporting our calls for a properly funded National Living Wage 

Members of Voices to be Heard presented hard copies of the petition to the offices of:

  • Penny Mordaunt MP, Minister for Disabilities
  • David Mowat MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Community Health and Care
  • Margot James MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility

December 2016

  • We published a report by Cebr which highlighted up to 30,000 jobs could be lost in the sector by 2020.
  • We launched a call for a 5% uplift in funding to keep the sector breaking even
  • We hosted an event in Parliament to publicise this data
  • We launched #Giveme5 (see details below)
  • We hosted a parliamentary event to launch the report.

February 2017

  • We responded to Surrey’s proposed referendum on a 15% increase in Council Tax to help fund Social Care
  • We achieved coverage in trade & local media
  • Surrey County Council abandoned plans to hold a referendum, opting instead for a 5% increase in Council Tax

May 2017

  • During the Local Elections, Hft called on Councillors to support their #GiveMe5 campaign, and move social care funding from local to central government
  • Our campaign was covered in trade and regional press
  • Families and people we support wrote to their local candidates raising awareness of the campaign
  • Over 50 local government associations – from the party political (eg Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors) to local groups (eg Bedfordshire Association of Town & Parish Councils) – were contacted regarding the campaign.

July 2017

  • Hft responded to the Low Pay Commission consultation on the impact of the National Living Wage 



This issue is so critical to the care sector that we need to take action. We are asking you to act NOW to stop vulnerable people with learning disabilities from being left without the essential support they need.

Please take a look at our campaign resources and help us raise awareness.  And don't forget to use the #Giveme5 hashtag on social media to show your support.

We’re not alone

As a member of the VODG, and of Learning Disability Voices, Hft is working in partnership with representatives from other learning disability support organisations in campaigning for a properly funded National Living Wage. 

The VODG (Voluntary Organisations Disability Group), comprises of a group of over 80 leading voluntary sector and not-for-profit disability organisations that works on behalf of its members to influence and develop social care policy, build relationships with government and other key agencies, promote best practice, and keep members up-to-date on matters that have an effect on service delivery.

Learning Disability Voices is a coalition of charities, not-for-profit and independent sector companies that provide learning disability services in the UK, and who together represent 20% of the total sector provision. The group was launched in response to the funding challenge that the introduction of the new National Living Wage represents, and exists to push for crucial policy changes to ensure a sustainable future for quality learning disability care.

Download the report

Our new research examines the impact of financial pressures on the viability of the adult care sector, with a specific focus on learning disabilities.

Learning Disability Voices

Hft is a founder member of Learning Disability Voices, a coalition of organisations that support individuals with learning disabilities across the UK, and who are campaigning for a properly funded National Living Wage.


Hft is a member of the VODG, an organisation that works on behalf of its members to influence and develop social care policy.