Thursday, 4 September 2014

The closure of the Independent Living Fund

The Independent Living Fund (ILF) enriches the lives of many disabled people within Lancashire and in Hyndburn. Its cost effective and personal approach to care has enabled a level of independence that is crucial to the lives of disabled people. The current Tory-led government efforts to dissolve the ILF risks undermining that essential support. By promoting an individually based care system, the fund creates opportunities for disabled residents to become both financially independent and access personalised support. It also provides families with the necessary levels of advice and guidance.

Government plans to restructure disabled people’s funding is resulting in an end to the ILF, with the responsibility of disabled care being placed in the hands of extremely cash-strapped Local Authorities. Given the welfare changes being made, 27% of adult social care budgets have been cut, meaning the ILF is one of the few remaining stable sources of support for disabled people with higher support needs. With local authority social care budgets being cut by £2.8 billion, 40% of disabled people have said that social care services do not meet their basic needs.

The 'Disabled People Against Cuts' group argue that the ILF is still salvageable, and that its lack of overheads and its high levels of recipient satisfaction make it a huge asset to adult social care services. Indeed the ILF’s overhead costs are a mere 2% of the budget – vastly below local authority overhead costs.

I have written at length to Mike Penning the previous minister, concerning the threats to the ILF in the past. People in Hyndburn and Haslingden have encouraged my involvement in this important issue, and i thank them for their support and advice. I am now writing to the new Minister for Disabled People, Mark Harper MP, raising the concerns of local ILF users once again.