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Learning Disability

Volume 696: debated on Wednesday 5 December 2007

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The department has published the consultation document Valuing People NowFrom Progress to Transformation. The document has been placed in the Library and copies are available for honourable Members in the Vote Office.

The document seeks people’s views on the priorities for learning disability for the next three years, 2008 to 2011. It builds on the vision set out in Valuing People (2001), which was the first White Paper on learning disability for 30 years—a vision based on the four main principles of rights, independence, choice and inclusion. The consultation document recognises that the vision set out in Valuing People was right; it also recognises that consideration needs to be given to new issues that were not covered in Valuing People and how we keep the agenda moving in the right direction as we move to tackle some of the key challenges in reaching equality of access and citizenship.

Valuing People Now—From Progress to Transformation is a cross-government consultation setting out the agenda across a range of issues including health and well-being, housing, employment, education and community inclusion. The House is aware of some of the deeply disturbing and unacceptable reports that there have been about the treatment of people with learning disabilities, and the failure to ensure their fundamental rights and choices as members of our society. It is vital not only that we see an end to cases such as those, but that real change is achieved to ensure that people with learning disabilities have equality of citizenship through independent living. This consultation seeks people’s views on what the priorities should be over the next three years, how we can deliver on those priorities and how we will know that we are achieving change.

The consultation will run until 11 March 2008 with a view to my department setting out proposals for the next three years, based on the responses that we receive to the consultation, in a document to be published by summer 2008.