The following article is republished from the Disabled People Against Cuts website.
The social care system is in crisis and unable to meet Disabled people’s support needs.
One of the starkest examples of the inability of the mainstream social care system to adequately meet Disabled people’s needs is presented by the closure of the Independent Living fund, exposing the gap between meaningful independent living and reality.
Objectively the facts bore out the discrepancy between the outcomes delivered by the ILF and how LA administered social care support operates.
Nevertheless, the Chancellor gave a “special assurance” that the government would “demand” that money transferred to Local Authorities would be spent on former ILF recipients and that money would be allocated in future budgets.
We are now calling on the Chancellor and the Minister for Disabled people to honour their promises that support will not be removed and to ensure that further ILF Grant Determination funding is committed in November’s Autumn Statement.
This funding alone will not solve the much wider failings in the current social care system and it won’t help those Disabled people who missed out on the ILF. It is nevertheless right that we lobby to protect those we can. The continuation of ILF level support packages clearly evidences what independent living is and how Disabled people can be part of society. Once we lose that evidence it will be much harder to regain the independent living ground we will have lost.
“The situation facing thousands of Disabled people since the closure of the Independent Living Fund at the end of June 2015 is just one example of how cuts and the crisis in social care are breaching disability rights (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/20/un-inquiry-uk-disability-rights-violations-cprd-welfare-cuts).
Assurances were given that the closure of the ILF was a transfer not a cut by both the Minister for Disabled People and the Chancellor. Writing into this newspaper (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/11/impact-of-changes-to-disability-benefits) Justin Tomlinson said “the claim that support made available to some disabled people under the independent living fund is to be removed” was “a travesty of the truth”. In an interview on BBC Look North before the election Osborne said that the ILF was “such an important fund… that we will be able to include it in the budgets going forwards”.
Reality is not living up to the rhetoric. Local Authorities facing massive social care budget shortfalls have already made devastating cuts to support packages since the end of June. In one area, for example, 53 out of 60 former ILF recipients are facing cuts to their packages, with more than a quarter facing dramatic cuts of over 50 per cent of their support.
We call on the Chancellor and the Minister for Disabled People to uphold their pledges to protect former ILF recipients and to ensure further funding is not only devolved to Local Authorities through the forthcoming Autumn Statement but also ring-fenced.”