Philip Hammond MP. Photo credit: NATO Summit Wales 2014 via photopin (license)

Learning disabilities charity, Hft, is calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take urgent action in his Spring Budget to save the learning disabilities sector, or risk three quarters of providers running into deficit by the end of the of this Government.

Research by independent economics consultancy Cebr, commissioned by Hft, highlighted the financial instability surrounding the learning disabilities sector.

It showed 55% of suppliers surveyed stated that they expect to be running at a deficit within the next three years, with a further 20% claiming they will be running at a deficit over the next five years.

Without sufficient funding, the report warned that an estimated 30,000 jobs could be lost from the sector by 2021.

Hft’s research concluded that, for the sector to continue to break even, an annual uplift in funding of between 4%-6% was needed.

The charity is calling on the Government to commit to an uplift of at least five percent per year, to meet the rising cost of learning disability care services based on the current level of service, and urging members of the public to show their support by using the hashtag #GiveMe5 on social media.

Billy Davis, Public Affairs & Policy Manager, explained: “Since his Autumn Statement, Mr. Hammond has received much criticism – from charities, think tanks and even his own backbenchers – over his failure to adequately address the funding crisis that is currently crippling the social care sector.

“Across the country, many will have seen their council tax bills rise as local authorities struggle to make ends meet, and the future of funding has been further thrown in to confusion with allegations of a ‘sweetheart deal’ with Surrey County Council to avoid a referendum on a 15% increase in council tax.

“We are now in a position where three-quarters of the sector could be running at a deficit before the end of this Government. This is unacceptable and not only threatens the future of our employees, but also the support that organisations such as Hft offer to some of the most vulnerable people in society at a time when the demand for services continues to grow year on year.

“Enough is enough. We urge the Chancellor to take decisive action in his Spring Budget. We are calling on Mr. Hammond to provide central government funding for the learning disability sector, and commit to an annual uplift in funding of at least 5%.”

Since February 2016, Hft has been actively raising awareness through its It Doesn’t Add Up campaign, which highlights the funding pressures faced by social care providers due to the NLW not being properly factored into local authority commissioning rates.

For more information about the campaign visit: www.hft.org.uk/Get-involved/it-doesnt-add-up/