Learning disability exhibition ends, but “real danger” of discrimination continues

Mencap Cymru say the cost-of-living crisis could see those with learning difficulties facing redundancy

A photo exhibition in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay has been showcasing the everyday lives of people with learning disabilities. The “Through Our Eyes” campaign has seen around a hundred or more visitors a day since opening over a month and a half ago.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the Welsh Government and disability charity All Wales People First. Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt MS was one of the sponsors.

The aim was to challenge the perception of those with learning disabilities and the role they play in our society.

Wayne Crocker, the Director of Mencap Cymru, says that more should be done.

“There are barriers that people with a learning disability face in terms of access to employment or things like going through interviews and developing the skills that they need to show that they can do a job.”

Less than half of adults with disabilities were employed in Wales in 2020. In comparison, 80% of those without disabilities were in paid employment.

Mr Crocker also emphasised that the current economic uncertainty can disproportionately impact people with learning disabilities.

“I think there’s a real danger that if the financial crisis gets deeper, that actually organisations and companies will be looking at who they employ and may decide that people with the learning disabilities are easy to to make redundant.”

He says the responsibility for learning disabilities rests with local authorities, rather than the UK or Welsh Governments.

“Local authorities should be supporting people to co-produce the services that they need. The role of Welsh Government is to set an overarching objective and to find the funding so that local authorities can invest in their very localized services.”