LDA EnglandThe government’s performance has been severely criticised in a survey of people with learning disabilities, with the majority saying that many areas of their lives have become ‘much worse’ in the past 5 years.

The Learning Disability Alliance (LDA) England’s Quality Checking Government survey took in the views of 2,000 people – half of which were people with learning disabilities, with 27% being family members and the remainder supporters – and gave the government an overall score of 2 out of 10. 

Survey respondents were asked to score the Government in 12 areas: rights, advocacy, family life, community, income, education, work, home, support, health, safety and justice.

The worst scores given were in the areas of income and taxes and work, with 69% saying it was a lot worse. One respondent said: “I have had benefits cut to a point where we are running up massive debts.”

The government were also scored badly in the areas of rights, advocacy, family, education, home, support and justice. Eighty percent said their family life was worse under this government. One respondent said: “Most support services are no longer there.”

While the government fared better in the areas of community life, health and safety, its performance was still “dismal”, according to the LDA England. Overall, the government scored 3 out of 10 in these areas, but with 52% saying community life was now a lot worse.

The survey results were launched at a parliamentary reception on February 24, hosted by Labour MP Kiz Kendall.

Unpleasant reading

Responding to the survey results, Steve Scown, chief executive of not-for-profit service provider Dimensions, said: “The LDA’s end-of-term report does not make for pleasant reading, but I don’t think any of us who work with people with learning disabilities are surprised. The themes – such as work, money and social inclusion – are familiar and with marks averaging just 2 out of 10 from the 2,000 respondents one would reasonably predict a CQC [Care Quality Commission] rating of ‘inadequate’. Indeed, such a poor performance would see CQC putting the government into ‘special measures’. 

“However this is not the first government we’ve experienced that would be given such a low score. For generations, people with learning disabilities have been shunned, shut away in awful places, excluded from society and generally treated as second class citizens. So why are they so consistently overlooked? Why have so many politicians of every persuasion got so many policies so wrong?

“I hope that ‘Quality Checking Government’ is taken seriously. It deserves to be, as it provides a really important baseline. In future years the learning disability community can use this report to judge if progress has been made – and then they will be able to hold politicians to account via the ballot box.”

Scown advocated that people with learning disabilities make their feelings known through the ballot box by voting at the forthcoming general election.