Almost four-fifths (79%) of Brits do not believe Liz Truss, the new Prime Minister will prioritise the rights and interests of adults with a learning disability, according to a poll published by learning disability charity Hft and Opinium today.
This is despite the fact that they are some of the most adversely impacted by the current cost of living crisis.
Along with soaring fuel and food prices, people with a learning disability face additional costs of around £538 per month for essential things like charging electric wheelchairs or keeping their homes heated. Yet just a fifth (22%) of the public believes that there is enough financial support for them to cover these costs in the current climate, according to Amanda Bunce, Chair of Trustees at Hft.
“During her first speech on the steps of Downing Street, the new Prime Minister pledged ‘action this week’ to address the cost of living crisis. We implore her to ensure this includes sufficient payments for people with a learning disability so they can remain financially secure this coming winter and into the future,” says Ms Bunce.
The poll also found that nearly two-thirds of the public (62%) believe the Government needs to spend more money on supporting people with a learning disability. Hft also urges the new Prime Minister, and her colleague Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to prioritise spending on social care funding.
In stark opposition to her predecessor’s parting words claiming that he had ‘fixed social care’, the sector remains in an increasingly precarious position. Hft’s Sector Pulse Check research found that 43% of providers had to close parts of their organisation or hand back contracts due to financial pressures in the past year, while the average workforce vacancy rate stands at 16%. This is unparalleled in Hft’s 60-year history.
“It is vital that the new Government takes steps to place social care on a stable financial footing if the new Prime Minister is to truly keep her promise of giving ‘everyone everywhere the opportunities they deserve’, including individuals supported by, and employed in, the social care system.
“Addressing the unprecedented cost-of-living crisis facing people with learning disabilities should not simply be a sticking plaster administered by the new Government, but must provide a realistic financial support package to enable people to live secure and fulfilled lives in the long term,” Ms Bunce concludes.