Responding to reports of the leaked ‘adult social care market insight’ CQC document, care leaders are calling on the Government to address the funding shortfall in the learning disabilities sector as a matter of urgency.

Learning Disability Voices – which comprises charities and independent sector providers – is highlighting the intense financial pressures that are leading to local service closures in the sector.

Echoing the concerns raised in this morning’s reports, the coalition of providers cited the following developments as major threats to the sustainability of learning disability services: 

  • Providers being forced to withdraw from millions of pounds worth of local authority commissioned care packages which have become economically unviable.
  • The application of the National Living Wage to overnight ‘sleep-in’ shifts, which will dramatically increase the pressure on wage budgets (which already accounts for 70% of the sector’s total costs).
  • A shortfall in overall funding for the social care sector totalling £6 billion by 2020/21, which equates to at least a £926 million shortage in learning disabilities by 2020.

Commenting, Andrew Cannon, Co-Chair of Learning Disability Voices, said:

“Adult social care is in crisis and our ability to provide learning disability services on the current terms set by the Government is unsustainable.

“As a sector we cannot rely on private fees, and cash-strapped local authorities are our only customer. More funding is vital to ensure we can continue to support many of those who cannot help themselves.”

Commenting, Diane Lightfoot, Co-Chair of Learning Disability Voices, said:

“Learning disability services are a lifeline to many, yet services are being withdrawn or they are failing because of the intense pressure on our budgets.

“Unless the Government acts to address funding in the sector, services will fail and lives will be put at risk. We now require urgent clarity about how this crisis is going to be averted.”

The Learning Disability Voices coalition includes the likes of Voyage Care, United Response, Lifeways, The Wilf Ward Family Trust, Hft and Mencap - which together representing 20% of the total sector provision.

These organisations help provide highly specialist services for the UK’s most vulnerable people, many of whom have ‘higher’ or ‘severe’ needs, requiring 24 hour support.