Government must not be allowed to duck its responsibility for statutory social care

The retrospective care costs for people with serious learning disabilities should be met in full

As the Government’s self-imposed deadline of 2 October approaches and people with a learning disability as well as their families, care staff and support providers await the Government’s decision on whether or not it will fund the £400 million back-pay bill for overnight care, sleep-in shifts, Royal Mencap Society Chairman, Derek Lewis, called on Government to honour its obligations to fund statutory care for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

Mencap Chairman, Derek Lewis said: 

“Sleep-in overnight care allows people with serious learning disabilities to live an independent life. Local Authorities decide who needs this essential care and central Government gives them the money to pay for it.

“Last autumn, when Government changed its interpretation of how care staff doing sleep-in shifts should be paid national minimum wage, massive unfunded back-pay liabilities were created that charities and other providers do not have the resources to pay.

“Care Quality Commission reports show that Mencap staff consistently do exceptional work and deserve to be paid fairly but charities like our own simply cannot, and should not have to, subsidize statutory social care.

“Mencap urges Government not to duck its responsibilities but to honour its obligations to fund statutory social care for those with complex needs and eligible to receive it.  The Government has presided over an extended period of misdirection on this matter, with HMRC, its appointed administration and enforcement agency for the National Living Wage, advising employers that the NMW did not apply to sleep-ins until late last year and its own website giving the same advice until July this year.

“And Government needs to recognise that only a fully funded solution will work. Partial funding would see scores of small and medium sized charities and family run firms go to the wall as they quickly became insolvent. The damage will have been done.

“Securing the future of learning disability care across the UK would be the true hallmark of a Government that is committed to fairness and building a country where no-one gets left behind.”

About Mencap

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

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