United Response has followed the Queen’s Speech closely and welcome a number of proposed legislative changes.

Her Majesty outlined plans for an integrated health and social care system, a move that we hope will mean joined up support for the 1.5 million people with learning disabilities in the UK. However, to be successful, such integration must include pooled budgets and a genuine commitment to shared outcomes.

It’s also clear that any process of legislative change costs more and so we urge Government to “invest to save” by providing the initial funding that is fundamental to successful system reform and by taking a longer term view that recognises the many benefits – and substantial savings - that a move towards more community-based support could bring.

Similarly, whilst Government’s aim to encourage more people into work is to be applauded, disabled people need the right support to find, get and keep a job. Many people with disabilities or mental health needs encounter significant barriers to work, which must be broken down in order for this group to be included “into the purpose and dignity of employment”.

United Response works closely with people we support across the country to focus on building employment support around the needs of the individual. We support people with a host of needs into work by matching their existing skills and interests so that both the employee and employer can reach positive and successful outcomes.  It’s an approach that really works – but it also takes time. And that means funding.

So, we urge Government to commit to a fair and proportionate approach to funding to ensure that people with disabilities are properly and effectively supported into the work place. This will mean that society can benefit from their valuable tax contributions while people with disabilities themselves will be empowered by the opportunity to live rounded and fulfilled lives.

The Queen’s Speech also noted that proposals for a British Bill of Human Rights will be brought forward, making way for a potential replacement of the Human Rights Act. This is a cause of concern for people with disabilities and other vulnerable and marginalised groups, whose fundamental rights are already enshrined under the current laws and who must be considered ahead of any potential change.

Diane Lightfoot, director of policy and communications, said: “It is vital that people with learning disabilities are considered ahead of any possible changes to legislation that would disproportionately affect them. While encouraging people into work and integrating health and social care are important steps forward, we would urge Government to commit to proper funding for any systemic or legislative change so that the right support can be put in place to enable people to achieve their potential.

"We also urge Government to put disabled people and people with mental health needs at the heart of the decision-making process and consult them ahead of any changes. Only by doing this can people be fairly represented and play an equal role in society.”

Gemma Taylor, media assistant.