Government launches consultation on four more years’ of ILF grant funding
Inclusion London is delighted by the news that the government is proposing to devolve further funding to Local Authorities to meet the social care support needs of former ILF recipients. We congratulate everyone, Disabled campaigners and allies, who have worked so tirelessly to keep this important issue that sits at the heart of Disabled people’s right to independent living in the spotlight.
Since the closure of the Independent Living Fund on 30 June 2015 Local Authorities have been responsible for meeting the social care support needs of former ILF recipients but with no certainty about ongoing funding. As part of the government proposals to transfer the ILF, ILF determination grants were awarded to each Local Authority in England with social care responsibility and the devolved administrations from July 2015 until the end of March 2016. However there was no certainty about further funding beyond this period.
Independent living campaigners lobbied for further transitional funding to be allocated in the Autumn statement but were initially disappointed when nothing was announced. Journalist John Pring was able to ascertain from the Department for Work and Pensions this January that there would be additional funding for 2016-2017 (http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/disabled-tories-launch-investigation-into-impact-of-ilf-closure/) but last week the government launched a consultation proposing further transitional funding for every year until the end of this Parliament:
This is welcome news and is certainly the outcome of increased pressure on the government. Despite the Minister for Disabled People having claimed in June that the closure of the ILF was a transfer and not a cut (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/11/impact-of-changes-to-disability-benefits), there is mounting evidence of dramatic cuts to the support packages of former ILF recipients in areas where reassessments have been carried out. (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/anguish-mum-son-betrayed-tories-7222660).
Many Local Authorities are only now re-assessing and had there not been further transitional funding there would inevitably have been many more cases about to surface.
Further ILF grant funding for Local Authorities will not solve the wider problems in social care including the overall growing funding shortfall and inadequate support for Disabled people who missed out on or were never eligible for support from the ILF. It is also part of the government’s cynical attempt to blame Local Authorities for making cuts while excusing themselves of responsibility. However this additional funding does have the potential to protect thousands of individuals with the highest support needs from distressing and degrading cuts to essential support. It is therefore important that campaigners lobby their Local Authorities now to commit to ring-fence the proposed additional funding for former ILF recipients.
Inclusion London will be producing a briefing on the ILF recipient grant consultation and our own response which will be available at the beginning of March following input from solicitors with expertise in this area.
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