**151 newly elected MPs pledge to listen to concerns of people with a learning disability, including PM David Cameron**
**9 in 10 Brits think the next UK government should take steps to tackle learning disability discrimination**
**40% of the general public are in contact on a regular basis with someone who has a learning disability**
To mark the launch of Learning Disability Week 2015 Mencap is holding to account the MPs who signed up to the Hear My Voice campaign and said they would listen to the voice of learning disability if they were elected.
Over 800 local candidates, many of whom engaged with local people with a learning disability at hustings events, signed up to Mencap’s Hear My Voice campaign. 151 of them were elected as MPs – meaning over a fifth of the new Parliament pledged to listen more attentively to people with a learning disability.
A Populus poll of 2,062 British adults found that 90% of people thinking the next government should actively tackle learning disability discrimination. While it also revealed over 40% of the general public are in contact on a regular basis* with someone who has a learning disability.
Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap said:
“With a new government in place, over a fifth of MPs supporting learning disability issues and over 40% of the public in regular contact with people with a learning disability, we want to use Learning Disability Week to ensure the next Parliament pushes learning disability further up the political agenda than ever before.“
“It’s vital the entire learning disability community comes together to continue this momentum and fight to raise awareness and improve the quality of life for people with a learning disability. We need to reach out to the newly-elected politicians and people in positions of power, and tackle the myths and misconceptions about learning disability that fuel prejudice and inequality.”
The inequalities affecting people with a learning disability include:
- 1,200 people with a learning disability die avoidably every year in our NHS.
- Pupils with Special Educational Needs are eight times more likely to be permanently excluded than their peers who do not have these needs.
- Just 7% of people with a learning disability are in paid employment.
- 56% of disabled people say they have experienced hostility, aggression or violence from a stranger because of their condition or impairment.
Ismail Kaji, who has a learning disability, and is Parliamentary Affairs Assistant for Mencap, said:
“There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the country. Many are not fully included in society and many feel excluded. It’s important that Parliament hears our voice and what we have to say on the issues that affect us.
“I worked to help many people with a learning disability have their voices heard in the general election and turn up to vote on May 7th. I also had the chance to speak with many MPs who said to me that learning disability was a priority for them. I hope we can use Learning Disability Week to make sure MPs take their promises seriously, and improve the lives of the 1.4 million people in the UK who have a learning disability, their families and carers.”
Mencap will be holding events throughout the week to garner the support of newly elected MPs:
- Parliamentary Event: Wednesday 17th June will see an event with over 100 MPs expected to attend along with people with a learning disability and families. MPs will be paired up with someone with a learning disability to hear their concerns for the next five years, and listen to a speech from 27 year old Vijay, who has a learning disability, and will be telling MPs his worries over the expected £12bn cuts to welfare.
- Meet your local MP: Mencap are supporting people with a learning disability to contact and meet their local MP on Friday 19th June, and speak directly to them about raising learning disability issues up the political agenda.
There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email firstname.lastname@example.org