Following on from Monday’s launch of Mencap’s Hear my voice campaign and release of a new opinion poll, Wednesday 10 September saw over 30 MPs, people with a learning disability, their families and Mencap President Lord Rix attend the launch of Mencap’s Hear my voicecampaign in the House of Commons.
MPs were presented with a new opinion poll* revealing how voters are demanding action from the next government to end learning disability discrimination. They also received a copy of the Mencap Manifesto outlining six key issues on which people with a learning disability want to see the next government act on. These include healthcare, hate crime and education.
The new campaign is about empowering people with a learning disability and their families to make sure their voices are heard by their local MPs and candidates in the lead up to the May 2015 General Election.
Speeches were given by Mencap President Lord Rix, a young man with a learning disability and a family who lost their brother due to discrimination and poor care within the NHS, all discussing the key points of the Hear my Voice campaign:
- 9 in 10 Brits think the next UK government should take steps to tackle learning disability discrimination
- 8 in 10 Brits deem real-life experiences where people with a learning disability are commonly discriminated against as ‘unacceptable’. These are experiences that people tell Mencap about on a daily basis, such as being a victim of a violent hate crime or being illegally excluded from school
- A consensus of voters across all political parties think the next government should tackle learning disability discrimination
MPs showed their support by signing-up to say, “I’m listening”, on the new campaign website: www.hear-my-voice.org.uk
Mencap President, Lord Brian Rix, said: “There are 1.4 million people in the UK with a learning disability and 6 million more family members and carers connected to them. However they often tell us they feel they are not listened to by politicians and subsequently many of the challenges they face go unheard and unresolved. We are asking you as Members of Parliament and as prospective candidates to listen to what people with a learning disability and their families have to say.”
Also giving a speech at yesterday’s event were Jonathan and Jayne Ridd. The tragic case of their brother, Paul Ridd, is included in the Manifesto. Paul died within the NHS due to poor healthcare and systemic discrimination.
Jayne and Jonathan Ridd said: “Medical staff need to see the person, not the disability, and realise that they need to go to extra lengths to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities.
“We need MPs and the future government to listen to families like ours and change things to protect people with a learning disability across the country. That’s why we feel so strongly about the Hear my voice campaign.”