ILF update

I came across the below prose whereby a question was asked by Baroness Wilkins on the ILF closure. What are your thoughts?

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what factors were considered in concluding that the Independent Living Fund is financially unsustainable; what alternatives have been explored; and whether the funding that is freed up by the closure of the Independent Living Fund will be reallocated to support disabled people in other ways.[HL5287]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: As set out in the Statement on the Independent Living Fund on 26 July 2010, the decision to close the fund to new applicants for 2010-11 was taken to ensure that the fund remained within its £348 million budget set by the previous Government, not to free up funding.

The Independent Living Fund was originally designed to provide financial assistance for around 500 people and last for five years. However, it is now topping up local authority support of 21,000 people.

The Independent Living Fund is a discretionary fund which makes direct cash payments to severely disabled people to purchase personal care or help with domestic duties from a care agency or privately employed personal assistant. Local authorities already have primary responsibility to provide social care support to their residents and the Independent Living Fund supplements this. As part of this responsibility they will need to consider the requirements of clients who may otherwise have received an additional Independent Living Fund package.

Although core funding for DWP falls by 26 per cent in real terms over SR10, we have decided that throughout this Parliament the Independent Living Fund will continue to support existing awards and we will fully protect the programme budget for existing recipients. We are therefore protecting 21,000 disabled people currently in receipt of Independent Living Fund awards.

In addition in 2011, following the publication of the report by the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support, we will carry out a formal consultation on the future of the ILF. This will inform decisions on determining how best to continue to support existing users of the ILF in a social care system based on the principles of personalised budgets, the findings of the Commission and recognising the importance of the support that ILF users have built their lives around. We will consult fully with disabled people, particularly current users of the Independent Living Fund and their families, local authorities and other interested parties, including the devolved administrations.