Down Syndrome Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:50 am on 26th November 2021.

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Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 11:50 am, 26th November 2021

I completely agree. As several hon. Members have mentioned, employment is important—to all of our lives, actually: it gives us purpose, structure, friendships and relationships. The shocking statistic that only 6% of people with Down’s syndrome are in employment was mentioned and we all must work hard to overcome that problem. That is the case for other learning disabilities, too: the figure for young people with autism is, I think, 22%, which again is not good enough. I hope to address that in my role as Minister for Care and Mental Health, whose brief includes learning disabilities.

To conclude, we are working towards an inclusive society for people with Down’s syndrome. The Bill takes one more step towards making sure that authorities are supported in delivering services that meet the unique needs of people with Down’s syndrome, and making sure this can happen consistently across the country. Once again, I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset on this important work. I was happy and glad to be the Minister in place when he came forward with his private Member’s Bill and am delighted to be able to offer the Government’s full support.