Socialist Worker

Independent Living Fund scrapped

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2351

A legal battle between disability activists and the government has revealed plans to slash up to £320 million of support to severely disabled people.

It could mean thousands of people are denied the ability to hold onto their jobs or live in their own homes.

The Independent Living Fund (ILF) was closed to new applicants in 2010. It is set to be scrapped altogether by 2015. 

It allows just over 20,000 people with severe impairments to live as independently as possible.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) insisted that it wasn’t cutting the fund, just devolving it from the central government to local councils. 

But consultation documents released in response to the legal challenge show that they intended to cut off the funding to councils after the first year.

Their support will become dependent on the council’s existing care and support budgets. 

These are already underfunded by £1.2 billion nationally, with huge discrepancies between what different councils provide creating a postcode lottery.

The DWP consultation documents admitted this will mean some users see a dramatic cut to the support they receive. 

Others will be taken into residential care instead of being supported to live independently.

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