The Independent Living Fund was a scheme whereby people with high levels of care needs were enabled to live independently, in their own homes rather than in residential care, through personal care being funded from central government.
Local councils have a responsibility to provide care for residents who have care needs, but in reality many councils are rationing this care and only providing it to those in the most desperate need - and then, only providing the minimum required. So someone who isn't incontinent, for example, may be put in nappies overnight rather than fund a personal assistant to assist that person with toileting.
Some councils are also looking at putting people into residential care if it would be cheaper to care for them there rather than in the community. (http://www.worcesterstandard.co.uk/2013/01/01/news-Legal-challenge-over-council%27s-care-cap-59039.html) The ILF has previously been used to top up people's care funding meaning disabled people could continue to live in the community.
Yes, it is councils' responsibility to provide social care, but the
Coalition knows councils have shrinking budgets - they're the government
providing those bloody shrinking budgets to the councils! All they're
doing is going "Not my problem" about everything, and shoving it all
onto other people's budgets.
I think the Tories hide behind "localism", and know people
will suffer as tasks fall to different regions to legislate, when
dealing with some things nationally is realistically the only way to
ensure fair access to those things.
There are many people supported by the ILF - one woman is someone I know through work, Sophie Partridge, who has put a video together voicing her concerns.
Further discussions with people affected by closure of ILF: http://falseeconomy.org.uk/blog/people-affected-by-the-closure-of-the-independent-living-fund
The Independent Living Fund really did support some of those the Tories refer to as "the most vulnerable in society", people with incredibly complex care needs, who need 24 hour support. The Tories have closed it, and councils will be expected to pick up the tab, but the money is just not there.
How is this "supporting the most vulnerable"? As far as I can see it's just making those "most vulnerable" not their problem, passing the buck, handing over responsibility, and ultimately not giving a toss as long as their bottom line isn't affected.
Here is a letter from the DWP about the closure of the ILF:
you for your recent correspondence, raising issues arising from
Government policies which are the responsibility of this Department.
Government Ministers receive a large volume of correspondence and they
are unable to reply personally on every occasion. I have been asked to
respond to some of your points.
are just over 19, 000 ILF users. There are approximately 13,000 users
in England, 3,000 in Scotland, 2,000 in Wales and 750 in Northern
Ireland. The average weekly ILF payment is £347. The most common use of ILF funding is to pay for personal assistants.
are approximately 3,000 Group 1 users (joined pre-1993). While many
Group 1 users receive some support from their local authority, this
input is not part of their ILF eligibility criteria. There are
approximately 16,000 Group 2 users (joined in or after 1993). Group 2
users have care packages which include a minimum contribution of £200
per week from their local authority.
of ILF users receive support from both the ILF and the local authority.
Around 41% of these users receive direct payments from both the ILF and
their local authority but under different eligibility and charging
functions. Around 1, 200 ILF users do not have a known local authority
contribution to their care package.
carefully considered all the responses to the consultation, the
Government believes that closing the ILF in 2015, with funding devolved
to local government in England and the devolved administrations in
Scotland and Wales, is the best way forward. The significant changes in
the wider system of care and support for disabled people mean that the
care and support needs of current ILF users can, and should, be met
within a single cohesive system. It is not justifiable to continue to
support those disabled people who were ILF users when the fund closed to
new applications, in a different way from other disabled people with
similar needs. I can reassure ILF users that the Government remains
fully committed to maintaining current ILF user’s care packages up to
believe that individual local authorities are best placed to provide
locally tailored funding and services integrated around individuals’
needs through direct payments and personal budgets. Local Authorities
already have a statutory responsibility to assess and fund the care
needs of all disabled people – those who have been ILF users and those
who have not. Over 18,000 existing ILF users already receive expert
assessment and a contribution to their care funding through their Local
Authority and discretionary ILF payments and have never taken precedence
over this. However, operating the ILF in addition to the mainstream
care and support system has duplicated functions and created unnecessary
bureaucracy for both users and local authorities."
I don't find that letter satisfactory. It offers absolutely no assurance that people will continue to get the support they need to continue to live their own lives as we all have the right to.