Aled Roberts AM

Minister provides an update on the Welsh Independent Living Grant

TAKEN FROM DISABILITY WALES WEBSITE

The Minister for Health & Social Services, Mark Drakeford AM, has responded to a letter from the Co-Chairs of the Cross Party Group on Disability, Mark Isherwood AM and Aled Roberts AM.

The Minister confirms that  “the Welsh Government’s draft budget for 2016-17 contains £27m to enable the WILG to continue to March 2017 as planned.”

He adds that “I am currently re-appraising the options for long term support …and plan to confirm later this month my present thinking in this area.

“My officials have met representatives of stakeholders to identify the key information needed, including experience of providing support in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Options for a way forward will be identified by the middle of this year and will be available for the new incoming government to put into place in good time before March 2017.”

Minister’s response to CPGD re ILFWILG.

 

In Response: Kirsty Williams AM

I received the first response to my letter to the four main political party leaders in Wales from Kirsty Williams AM of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. I thank her for her prompt and detailed reply to my concerns over the future of the Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG), which I have shared below.

I have a lot of time for the Welsh Liberals thanks to the hard work of Aled Roberts AM who has been a dedicated and empathetic supporter of independent living for disabled people for many years.

Liberal ideals should be applauded, but unfortunately we live in right-wing times and are controlled by a bias media that dismisses or ignores ideas from sources other than the ruling elite.

I remain confused and uncertain over the future of WILG past March 2016, although it is encouraging that Kirsty Williams believes that the Health Minister has stated that he will continue the scheme until March 2017. This would give me a stay of execution and give me time to increase my campaign for independent living, but I won’t believe it until I get written confirmation.

In the meantime I look forward to receiving replies from the other party leaders soon.

***

Dear Mr Davies

Thank you for your email regarding the Independent Living Allowance. I fully appreciate the concerns of many people such as yourself given the uncertainty over the future of this allowance.

As you say the funding has been guaranteed until March 2016. However, the Health Minister [Mark Drakeford AM] has stated that he will continue the scheme until March 2017 and in a written statement in March of this year announced that if funding continues to come from Westminster based on actual numbers then he would consider setting up a permanent Welsh body to administer the ILF.

The Liberal Democrat General Election manifesto in May included a wish to “deliver Home Rule to each of the nations of a strong, federal United Kingdom by transferring power to control a range of benefits for older people, carers and disabled people.”

It is also our goal to push for improvements in the benefits system for disabled people, based on the principle of one assessment, one budget. This will bring together support like Personal Independence Payment, Employment Support Allowance, a replacement for the Independent Living Fund and health and social care entitlements.

Unfortunately of course we are no longer in position at Westminster to deliver this.

In Wales we will do all we can to ensure a fair and equitable benefits system which is administered on a Wales wide basis and not subject to any Local Authority “postcode lottery.”

Yours sincerely

Kirsty Williams AM

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats

National Assembly Cross Party Group on Disability

National Assembly Cross Party Group on Disability

11am – 1pm, Friday 16 October 2015

Maesgwyn Hall, Mold Road, Wrexham, LL11 2AF

Co-Chairs 

Mark Isherwood AM (items 1–3) & Aled Roberts AM (items 4–8)

AGENDA

11am  1. Welcome, introductions, apologies

11.05am 2. Minutes of last meeting (13 May 2015) and matters arising

11.15am 3. Implementation of the Social Services & Well-being (Wales) Act

11.15am i. Margaret Provis & Anthony Jordon, the Welsh Government’s view

11.25am ii. Mark Jones, Head of Service Physical, Sensory and Neurological Impairment and Mental Health – Adult Social Care, Wrexham County Borough Council, a local authority perspective

11.35am iii. Vin West, Parent Carer, Arfon Access Group – a perspective from the Citizens Panel

11.45am iv. Nathan Lee Davies, a service recipient’s perspective

12.05pm Q & A / discussion

12.20pm 4. Welsh Government’s Strategic Equality Objectives consultation – Isabel Mortimer, Fairer Futures Division

12.35pm 5. Welsh Independent Living Grant – Paul Swann, Disability Wales & Sheila Meadows OBE, Parent Carer

12.45pm 6. Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) – Rhian Davies, Disability Wales

12.50am 7. Annual Report

12.55am 8. AOB

13:00pm 9. Future meeting dates & themes, Meeting ends