SCLD logoPeople with learning disabilities in Scotland are living more independently, but fewer are in employment, and much more needs to be done to improve this, according to a leading charity.

New statistics in ‘The Statistics Release: Adults with learning disabilities known to Scottish local authorities 2012 (eSAY)’ found that just over 60% of adults with learning disabilities known to local authorities now live in mainstream accommodation. Additionally, more than 45% do not live with a family carer.

However, the number of adults with learning disabilities known to be in employment or in training for employment fell in 2012 to 13%, down from 15.5% in 2011.

In addition, there were 14,254 adults with learning disabilities who were not in employment or training for employment in 2012, an increase of 20.6% on 2011.

There was also a 10% decrease in the number of people with learning disabilities attending further education centres, with 2,407 adults enrolled in 2012.

In terms of activities, there was more worrying news. In all, 5,483 adults attended a day centre in 2012 compared to 6,164 in 2011, a decrease of 12.4%.

But it seems that alternative opportunities are not readily filling this gap. The number of adults recorded as having alternative opportunities also decreased markedly in 2012: 10,286 in 2011 to 8,867 in 2012 – a 13.8% decrease.

The statistics have been welcomed by the Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability (SCLD) for shedding more light on the lives of people with learning disabilities in the country.

Chris Creegan, chief executive of SCLD, said: “This year’s data release comes in the wake of the publication of the Scottish Government’s new learning disability strategy, ‘The keys to life’. It shows that while some things are changing for the better, the message behind the strategy is right. There is much more to be done to ensure that people with learning disabilities can live meaningful lives in the community. Making this happen will require a huge shared effort across all sectors.”

Peter Scott, chair of SCLD, added: “The message from the statistics release is clear. There is a lot to do and strong partnerships are crucial to delivering on people with learning disabilities’ expectations. SCLD is committed to bringing together people to tackle the challenges ahead.”