The King’s Speech leaves learning disabled adults behind yet again
The State Opening of Parliament should be a hopeful event but, for learning disabled adults and the adult social care sector in general, listening to today’s speech was a huge disappointment.
Responding to the King’s Speech, Peter Snelling, Chief Care and Support Officer at learning disability charity Hft, said: “While promises to bring forward a draft Bill to increase the accessibility of rail travel is a positive step, learning disabled people have already waited too long for action on this. While Parliament is deliberating this Bill, travel remains complicated, difficult or simply inaccessible for far too many.”
He added: “There was also no mention of reforms to the Mental Health Bill which were rumoured – a glaring omission. Learning disabled adults and autistic people desperately need legislation to protect them from being detained in inpatient units on the basis of their disability.
“The King’s Speech illustrates what changes and developments we can expect over the coming months and years yet none of the issues set out in Voices for our Future, Hft’s plan for change, were addressed.
“In Voices for our Future, learning disabled adults told us they want to see the following in order to live their life, their way:
- A social care system where everyone receives the right support at the right time
- A housing system which has plentiful provision of accessible homes so learning disabled access can live fully in a community they choose
- A world where learning disabled people have the opportunity to earn a fair wage in a job they enjoy
- A change in attitudes so all learning disabled people are treated equally
“However, we are a long way from achieving these calls to action. It feels as though learning disabled adults are left behind, yet again.
“We are urging politicians to be allies and to learn from, listen to and prioritise, the needs and desires of learning disabled adults.”
Notes to editors
Hft is a national charity that creatively supports more than 2,200 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Services range from residential care to supporting people to live independently in their own homes – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.
Established in 1962, Hft is funded in two ways: through local authorities, who fund vital support services, but also through donors, supporters and volunteers who enable us to find new ways to help more people to thrive rather than just get by.
For more information about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk