At a lobby held on 6th January Independent Living Fund recipients called on MPs from all political parties to save the ILF. Caroline Lucas MP who sponsored the lobby told the meeting that her party the Greens are fully behind the call to keep and re open the ILF.
Tracey Lazard, CEO of Inclusion London said: “The Independent Living Fund (ILF) was set up to enable disabled people with the highest support needs to live in independently in the community. The fund has transformed the lives of generation of disabled people who otherwise would have been shut away in residential care .The shameful plan to close the ILF will have a devastating impact on ILF users. With social services funding cut by 26% and a further £10 billion of cuts to Local Authority in the pipeline the closure of the fund will leave ILF users facing a future back in institutions or living without the independence, choice and control that most non disabled people take for granted. The commitment by the Green Party to keep the ILF open will be welcome by disabled people across this land as a rare moment when a party turns the rhetoric of fairness and justice into a policy and action that stands up for disabled people who have been so disproportionately hit by austerity cuts”
The lobby also heard from the SNP how the Scottish government will not only be keeping but also investing money in setting up a Scotland ILF open to new applicants. Welsh and Irish politicians from the SDLP and Plaid Cymru also pledged their party’s support.
Read Caroline Lucas’ article for the Independent newspaper on the closure of the ILF here:
Watch footage from the lobby on 6th January here: https://dpac.uk.net/2015/01/pictures-and-video-from-the-saveilf-lobby-of-parliament-and-whitehall-roadblock/
For the latest on the ILF situation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (with thanks to Brian Hilton from GMCDP)
Wales: The Welsh Government consultation on the future arrangements for the ILF ended on the 23rd December with the preferred options seem to be either setting up a successor to the ILF or creating up a new Independent Living Scheme in Wales. Regardless of which option is chosen, there is a commitment that any future arrangements will be underpinned by the Welsh Governments “Framework for Action on Independent Living“.
Northern Ireland: Health Minister Jim Wells has confirmed that the ILF will be retained in Northern Ireland. Further details are still be announced and so far all we have is what was reported last week in the Derry Daily newspaper.
Scotland: The latest update from Learning Disability Alliance Scotland, states that Self Directed Support Scotland will be hosting the Scottish ILF Development Manager who will report to the newly formed project board and that an additional £5.5 million will be made available foe new ILF applications.