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Our position on the ILF closure

22 July 2014

Disability Rights UK position on the Independent Living Fund

Disability Rights UK opposes closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) unless and until an effective alternative approach is in place that really enables independent living of people with high support needs. In our view, all disability policy changes should be judged against the acid test of whether they enable independent living in practice. Of course the ILF only served some disabled people, it has not been perfect – so it would be possible to devise a stronger approach, enabling more people to live the lives they choose. But current plans do not convince us that they meet the acid ‘independent living in practice’ test.

Further Disability Rights UK is concerned about the transfer of responsibility for ILF recipients to local authorities due to take place at the end of June 2015.  In particular we are concerned that:-

  • The monies being transferred from the ILF to local authorities will not be ring fenced meaning that the money can be spent according to local decision rather than necessarily on those in receipt of ILF funding;
  • There is currently no indication of whether funding for ILF recipients will continue to be transferred from national to local government beyond 2015/16.
  • The level of social care funding in real terms has, and is likely to continue to be, cut overall outweighing many times the additional funds being transferred from the ILF.
  • The consequences are that some disabled people in receipt of ILF funding will no longer receive any support at all; and others may find their support package reduced
  • Many local authorities are not engaging with disabled people on what they plan to do causing increasing anxiety to existing ILF users
  • We want to see equity of support that achieves independent living across all impairments and age groups – closure of the ILF in current conditions will not achieve this.

Action being taken by Disability Rights UK

Disability Rights UK have sent Freedom of Information requests to all local authorities in England to ask

a) Do they intend to ring fence the ILF money being transferred to them to existing ILF users in their area?

b) How are they co-producing their plans with disabled people?

We will be publishing the results at the end of July.

Through our membership of the ILF Advisory Group we working to ensure that all ILF recipients have the information they need from the ILF itself, their respective local authority and what advocacy and support is available.

We are also supporting the call from Baroness Jane Campbell for the Government to establish a cross departmental reference group to include representatives of ILF users to monitor the actions of local authorities post transfer.

For further information contact Sue.Bott@disabilityrightsuk.org