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We applaud Bristol Councils ILF vote

17 September 2014

Disability Rights UK is delighted that councillors at Bristol City Council debated and passed a motion on the transfer of the ILF to local authorities at their full council meeting yesterday

Sue Bott, Director of Policy and Development comments:

“It is good to see councillors in Bristol debating what is such an important issue for many disabled people. We have been able to contribute to this debate through our FOI requests to local authorities on what their intention are when the ILF transfers to them.

We urge disabled people everywhere to talk to their local councillors and ask them to debate and pass a motion on similar lines to the one passed in Bristol."

The Motion

The motion was debated three hours and ten minutes into the meeting (3:10:45) 

The motion passed was, as follows;

Agenda item 10. MOTIONS

Councillor Rob Telford

Cllr Rob Telford (Green group), amended by Cllr Bill Payne (Labour group)

INDEPENDENT LIVING FUND

That this Council is:

  • deeply concerned by the Government's announcement that it will close, by June 2015, the Independent Living Fund (ILF), on which over 18,000 disabled people with high support needs (including over a hundred in Bristol) rely to live independently;
  • questions the decision to give local authorities (LAs) responsibility for this funding without ring fencing when LAs have already cut spending by £1.9 billion on adult services through efficiencies and service reduction between 2011 and 2013, and when the Department of Health has shown that demand for adult social services has outstripped funding as expenditure has fallen 9% behind demand over the last four years;
  • notes that there are expert concerns that financial pressure and loss of experienced ILF staff will mean current ILF recipients will be placed in residential care or left at home without adequate care provision;
  • considers the numerous and significant cuts to disabled benefits mean a cumulative impact assessment of cuts on disabled people is a prerequisite to any decision about the ILF; and is reminded that in 2013 the Court of Appeal found the Government's decision to close the ILF in March 2015 breached equality duties;
  • urges the Government to respect its obligations under the UN Convention of the Rights of Disabled Persons by maintaining the ILF and reopening applications.

This Council therefore calls upon the Mayor (wherever lawful to do so) to :

  1. Write to the national leaders of all political parties represented in the council chamber, highlighting the concerns identified above, and requesting they identify if they will reinstate the ILF, or, alternatively, how they will provide ring-fenced funding for local authorities to ensure that ILF users continue to receive the same standard of care and support they receive at present – responses from the leaders, or the fact none had been received, to be published on the council's website;
  2. Commit to ring-fencing any ILF funding that will be transferred to this authority by central Government in 2015-16 following the closure of the ILF;
  3. If not already doing so, to undertake financial re-assessment of all current Independent Living Fund recipients in order to inform them of what their care package will be after the Fund closes at the end of June 2015, and to do this as early as possible in order to reduce the anxiety already being felt by ILF users;
  4. Seek to identify any potential ILF recipients who have failed to receive funding due to the closure of the ILF for new applications in 2010;
  5. Clearly set out how it plans to identify and make Group 1 ILF recipients (that is those who received an ILF award pre 1993 and whose care package is entirely ILF funded and thus may be unknown to this local authority) aware of the changes to the ILF and the potential loss of funding to their care package;
  6. Commit to working in accordance with the Code of Practice that has been agreed between the ILF and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS);
  7. Set out how the council will co-produce their ILF transfer plan by bringing ILF users together and involving their local representative organisations;
  8. Create an ILF contingency reserve to cover any anticipated shortfall in funding following the transfer in 2015, by transferring funds from reserves created to guard against further government funding pressures of this kind.

We call on the Mayor to work with the leaders of the other core cities to persuade central government to reinstate a centrally-funded and centrally-administered scheme, as preferred by the vast majority of the disabled community originally served by the ILF.