In this guest blog, Simon Cramp talks about a week spent at conferences finding out more about government decisions about funding for social care services and how it will impact on the lives of people with learning disabilities.

Well I was a busy bee in the last week of November, going to three conferences in a space of week. The first two concerned the Autumn Statement, which was delivered by Chancellor Philip Hammond that week, and the future of adult social care services. 

As newspapers and commentators said at the time – and which I agree with – it was a strange and foolhardy decision not to commit money to social care or the NHS. I think the government is putting off making difficult decisions about social care – and has been for years now.

One of the problems with the Care Act 2014 is that it stated you are entitled to a community care assessment, but if there is then no money for councils to spend on the care services you need or fund your individual budget – and unless you are assessed as having critical or substantial needs you won’t get anything anyway – then the system is already broken, as Simon Duffy from the Centre for Welfare Reform said some time ago. 

Personally, I think it isn’t just broken but snapped in two. Money needs to be put in and the government has to stop blaming everyone else when welfare and social care policy is their responsibility. It was easy to hit those who couldn’t fight back.

A leading financial think-tank said that for the JAM, those ‘just about managing’ – which is a really bad acronym – there was not much help and it was very complicated to work out what the chancellor has done for people. But also the welfare reforms, which were meant to help people into work and in low-paid work are not helping, which I think will cause more stress for people.

Finally, at the beginning of the following week I went to the Learning Disability Today London conference, where I spoke in the keynote session and later chaired a seminar. It took a lot of planning and you can read more about that – and my top tips on how to prepare for such a session – in my special blog here.

The events were all very interesting, but when I got home I could have slept for a week! 

About the author

Simon Cramp is a fellow of the Centre for Welfare Reform and a lifetime member of Learning Disability England.