Action at Westminster to defend the Independent Living Fund

By Simon Barrow
January 6, 2015

If the government gets its way, the Independent Living Fund (ILF) is closing.

As a fund separate from local authority income and with very different rules it has enabled disabled people to live full, independent lives that they control and choose, points out Ekklesia chief operating officer Virginia Moffatt, a specialist in social care.

The ILF has also saved local authorities money as it has supplemented their budgets or meant that they have not needed to find funding for some people, she points out.

"In Oxfordshire we worked closely with ILF and this enabled many people with learning disabilities to have essential 1:1 support that enabled them to get out and about in their communities. Now Oxfordshire learning disabilities services are facing a 10 per cent cut and no ILF. Which means people will be trapped at home with limited support. This will be replicated across the country and for some it will probably mean no support at all – an absolute disgrace."

Many others feel equally strongly. Nearly 18,000 disabled people with high-support needs rely in the Independent Living Fund to live with choice and control in life, rather than going into residential care or being trapped at home.

In March 2014 the Minister for Disabled People announced that the ILF will be closing on 30 June 2015. The funding and responsibility of ILF care and support needs will then transfer to local authorities in England and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

John McDonnell MP (Labour), Peter Bottomley (Conservative), Jeremy Corbyn MP (Labour), Mark Durkan (SDLP) and Caroline Lucas MP are co-sponsoring cross-party Early Day Motion No. 655 in parliament, which supports the campaign to save the Independent Living Fund. It can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/655

There is also a protest being organised in person and online on Tuesday 6 January by Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC). More details here (http://dpac.uk.net/2015/01/saveilf-campaign-goes-to-parliament-tues-6th-...) and here (http://dpac.uk.net/2014/12/urgent-call-out-for-mass-action-to-saveilf/).

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© Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.