In November 2013 a successful appeal was made to the High Court to stop the government from closing down the Independent Living Fund (ILF).
The ILF allows around 18,000 disabled people with complex care and support needs the opportunity to more easily interact within the wider community.
On March 6th it was announced that following an equality impact assessment the government felt confident to justify their decision to close the scheme.
I am deeply concerned that the government is taking this route, which arguably flouts the right of independent living that is enshrined as one of the principles in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
Due to postcode lotteries and an ever dwindling public purse, local authorities will not be able to offer the same level of support and care afforded by the ILF.
And that as a result a shortfall in care packages will result in many thousands of disabled people facing a loss of independence which could result in:
- economic exclusion;
- social exclusion; and,
- personal loneliness.
As one ILF recipient described the impact to me:
“Without this funding many thousands of disabled people will find it impossible to hold down jobs. For example, local authorities give for support for a morning care slot, but invariably the time allocated falls far short of that actually needed to properly support someone’s full care needs. The work I do, which has me meeting with the public on a daily basis, calls for a certain degree of grooming and smartness. My current local authority time slot, an hour, for a PA to assist me with getting out of bed, toileting, showering, drying and observing areas such as feet, dressing, ironing my clothing, preparing breakfast, drying and cleaning the wet room, and clearing away after my breakfast does not cover these activities. Without ILF to make up the shortfall I would find it impossible to get ready for work – remember Access to Work only covers the recipient from front door to work and back again.”
In his case, the withdrawal of ILF may cause him to be unable to work.
Yet again, the Liberal-Democrat and Conservative government has not only failed to protect vulnerable people, but has specifically targeted them. It is shameful.