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Our statement on ILF closure

29 June 2015

STATEMENT ON THE CLOSURE OF THE INDEPENDENT LIVING FUND

Tomorrow the Independent Living Fund (ILF) will finally close its doors after 27 years of supporting over 46,000 disabled people to achieve independent living. 

Disability Rights UK has opposed 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 did 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 in England to local authorities taking place tomorrow.  In particular we are concerned that:-

The monies being transferred from the ILF to local authorities will not, in most areas, 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 will find their support package reduced

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.

Notes

  • Disability Rights UK sent FOI's to find out what local authorities would be doing about ILF transfers in England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are introducing replacement ILF schemes. The first FOI's were sent to all local authorities in England with social care responsibilities over 3rd – 5th June 2014.  Two questions were asked. You can view a summary of findings hereThe timing of this FOI was to gauge the intentions of local authorities prior to guidance being issued. We then sent a second series of FOIs once LA guidance was available where four questions were asked. You can view a summary of findings here
  • You can find out what is happening in each local authority area in these 3 tables.

Table 1 - FOI reference number, ringfencing, how many users.

Table 2 - No's with pc transfer review, no's not seen, named individual.

Table 3 - Named organisation, involvement, monitoring.