The basic rights of people with a learning disability are threatened by welfare cuts

‘I fear we are about to go backwards on decades of hard-fought victories which secured disabled people’s rights and inclusion in society’ … Brian Rix, president of the Royal Mencap society. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

Campaigners fought for more than 60 years so people with a learning disability can make their own choices in life and be part of mainstream society. However, I fear we are about to go backwards on decades of hard-fought victories which secured disabled people’s rights and inclusion in society.

I have seen great strides since the 1950s, when I was advised to “put away and forget” my late daughter, Shelley, who had Down’s syndrome. However, expected £12bn cuts to social security, combined with huge reductions in funding for local government, and therefore social care, are causing fear and anxiety among the 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK, and their families.

Support through welfare and social care allows people with a learning disability to leave their homes, be active in the community and seek employment. For family carers, it recognises their vital role, and supports their immense contribution to loved ones and to society.

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