The Independent Living Fund (ILF) is a major source of funding from central government for severely disabled people to enable them to live in the community with the extra costs that it entails. Local authorities are already under tremendous pressure to make savings in social care. When the ILF ends in 2015, which it has now been announced will happen, and if the money is not ring-fenced as seems certain, those local authorities will not be obligated to spend any extra funding on social care. This could mean many disabled people's independence under threat, including people having to go back to living in institutions, or those disabled people capable of working not receiving any funding to support them to do so.
The Coalition Government said they would always support those with the greatest needs. The threatened closure of the ILF shows that they are not telling the truth. There are 20,000 existing users of the ILF in the UK.The Coalition Government wants to jeopardise their support by forcing them to rely on local authorities from 2015 by closing the ILF permanently. Local authorities already face severe cuts and cannot provide adequate support. Some local authorities are already saying that residential care homes will be their only option – can we expect our own local authority to follow suit?
We therefore call upon the Government to reverse this decision, and to reopen the ILF for new applicants and support the people already claiming it beyond 2015.
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