I sent the following email to the four main Welsh political party leaders – First Minister Carwyn Jones (Welsh Labour), Leanne Wood AM (Plaid Cymru), Kirsty Williams AM (Welsh Liberal Democrats) and Andrew RT Davies AM (Welsh Conservatives) – on behalf of the disabled community concerning the Welsh Independent Living Grant.
I will publish any responses I receive.
Dear [insert name]
I am writing as a concerned Direct Payments recipient who would like to enquire as to what your party would do to support independent living for disabled people in Wales should you win the forthcoming election.
Earlier this year the Conservative Government at Westminster closed the Independent Living Fund (ILF) across the United Kingdom as part of their austerity measures. This left many disabled people unable to pay for the care needed to be independent.
In England the ILF funds were given to local authorities while the devolved governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland received the monies to distribute as they felt appropriate. Scotland and Northern Ireland joined forces to create their own ILF schemes – giving long term security and confidence to disabled people and their families. In Wales we have had to make do with the short term solution of the Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG), which is not guaranteed beyond April 2016.
WILG resulted from a public consultation that clearly highlighted opposition to Wales following England’s lead and transferring ILF funds to local authorities. Instead, disabled people, their families and support workers want something special for Wales – a system which does not depend on the whims of individual local authorities.
As you can appreciate this is a pressing concern amongst the disabled community in Wales as many people – including me – are unable to plan for the future and are clouded by an oppressive degree of uncertainty. Subsequently, I would welcome information about your party’s long term plans in relation to WILG and Independent Living as a whole.
More about my specific story can be found at the link below:
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Nathan Lee Davies