Marking the political parties on learning disabilities

By staff writers
March 13, 2015

Learning Disability Alliance England (LDA) has invited the five main political parties in England to present their case to a Citizen Jury made up of seven people with learning disabilities and five family members.

The Citizen Jury will meet on 2 April 2015 at an event hosted by the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities in central London.

All of the five main parties in England have been invited:

Conservative Party – not yet confirmed
Labour Party – attendance confirmed
Liberal Democratic Party – not yet confirmed
Green Party – attendance confirmed
UKIP – not yet confirmed

LDA England will measure how well each political party will stick up for the rights of people with learning disabilities. They will publish the results and encourage people to use this information to decide how they should vote in the General Election in May.

The text of the letter sent to the Prime Minister is as follows:

Dear Prime Minister

Re: Citizen Jury 2nd April 2015

Learning Disability Alliance England (LDA) is a membership organisation lobbying all political parties on behalf of the one million people with learning disabilities in England. LDA represents over 500 different charities and organisations directly, or through the two main umbrella groups for people with learning disabilities: the Association for Real Change (ARC) and the Housing & Support Alliance (H&SA).

Before the UK General Election, LDA is raising awareness of the millions of people who can vote – but who often don't: people with learning disabilities, their families, their friends, care workers and other supporters.

At LDA's parliamentary launch on 24 February we announced the results of our 'Quality Checking Government' survey. 2,000 people completed the survey, more than 75 per cent being disabled people or family members. Further details of the survey and the LDA Manifesto can found in the LDA newspaper enclosed.

The LDA don't just want to encourage people to vote, they want people to vote wisely – based on which political parties are most likely to stand up for their rights.

For this reason we are writing to you, as the leader of one of the five main political parties in England, to invite you to send a suitable representative to speak at the LDA's Citizen Jury event on the 2nd April 2015, at the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities (Colechurch House, 1 London Bridge Walk). The Jury will be made up of a panel of seven people with learning disabilities and five family members. Each representative will have 15 minutes to make a presentation to the panel explaining why they should vote for their party and then 15 minutes for questions. At the end of each presentation the panel will vote and the results of the Citizen Jury will be announced at the end of the day, and shared with the LDA membership.

We already have confirmed representation from the Labour and Green parties and very much hope that you will send a representative to join them at this event.

For more information about the event and to confirm your attendance and book your slot, please contact Sarah Maguire or call 020 7261 4103 or 07810 378 346.

Yours sincerely

Professor the Baroness Hollins

Gary Bourlet, People First England

* Journalists who would like to be more involved in the event should contact Sarah.Maguire@choicesupport.org.uk

* More on the issues in the 2015 General Election from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/generalelection2015

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