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DR UK statement on ILF closure

06 March 2014

Disabled people will be impacted by the closure of the ILF but it will close anyway.

Despite the heroic efforts of some users of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in successfully challenging the Government’s original decision to close the Fund in April 2015, today the Government announced that, following undertaking a new Equality Impact Assessment the Fund will close in June 2015.

The Equality Impact Assessment acknowledges the likelihood that ILF users will face a reduction in their care and support packages with some disabled people losing all their support if there needs are considered to not to fit with their local authority’s exacting eligibility criteria.  However the assessment goes on to claim that this may be mitigated by ‘more care services being paid for directly’.

The impact assessment goes on to claim:-

“It is simply not possible to quantify accurately how the closure of the ILF would impact on individual care and support packages or how any funding cuts would translate into the loss of independence or reduce choice and control over their daily lives. “

Commenting on the announced closure Sue Bott, Director of Policy and Development for Disability Rights UK said: -

“I know many of our members will be very disappointed and worried following this decision.  The Equality Impact Assessment whilst acknowledging there will be an adverse impact dismisses such concerns on the grounds that they can’t be quantified accurately, or the Care Bill will make everything in the garden rosy again, or – extraordinarily – some concerns are simply the result of an outdated view of local authorities.  The fact is that social care is chronically underfunded and this decision will only exacerbate that situation.”

She went on to say: “The priority now must be to ensure that all ILF recipients get the best package possible from their local authority.  We will do what we can to assist through independent living information on our website and through our independent living helpline.  We would take issue with the Minister’s assertion that disability has become better understood in the last 20 years.  As far as independent living is concerned there is a need to renew the debate and give disabled people a right to independent living as contained in Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.”