I received this letter from my MP Ian Lucas who has been extremely supportive of my #SaveWILG campaign. He was trying to find out information about how the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) has affected disabled people. He wanted me to see the response he received – printed below – from Sarah Newton MP, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work as it looks as if the Government is shifting responsibility for ILF to local authorities who will now carry the can.
Thank you to Ian for his continued support. Together we will fight for justice for all disabled people against an obviously heartless Government…
Thank you for your email of 2 November to my predecessor concerning the Post Closure Review of the Independent Living Fund (ILF).
As you are aware, the responsibility for the ILF has been devolved to local authorities. Central Government does not monitor individual authorities’ assessment of need. At the point of closure of the ILF, 94 per cent of users were also receiving support from local authorities. This duplication of support indicated that there would be a rationalisation of awards , therefore, it was expected that some awards would be reduced to rectify this.
The aim of the post closure review was to provide a qualitative assessment of the experiences of the closure of the ILF in England, as perceived by its former recipients and local authority staff within adult social services department.
This qualitative research comprised in-depth interviews with 50 former ILF users. The ILF closed in 2015 and the interviews took place between August and September 2016, therefore providing a more accurate idea of the immediate impact of ILF closure on recipients. Conducting research of this type is challenging. Many ILF users have mobility or communication difficulties or are vulnerable, which means that interviews are time consuming and can only be conducted by specially trained interviewers.
The Department fulfilled its obligations by publishing the findings of the interviews, but we would not publish the individual interviews themselves for Data Protection reasons.
We have also published the equality analysis that was conducted prior to the closure of the ILF, which can be accessed using the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-the-independent living-fund-equality-analysis
I can assure you that the Department is not seeking to withhold information on present payments to former ILF recipients. As indicated in the answer to your recent Parliamentary Question, the Department does not in fact hold this information. I suggest that you seek the information from individual local authorities.
Sarah Newton MP
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work