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Independent Living Funds

Volume 463: debated on Monday 23 July 2007

On 15 March 2007 we published the review of the Independent Living Funds that had been conducted by Melanie Kenwood and Bob Hudson and I said that I would provide an initial response to the report before recess. A full response to all the recommendations will be published once we have considered the lessons from the individual budget pilots and the timescale required to ensure they become a mainstream part of the support system.

I welcome the progress the trustees have made on the matters that are for them to consider, for example, reimbursing national insurance and holiday pay, publishing trustees’ meeting minutes on their website, continuing to fund users during the first stage of their appeal (from October) and revising their leaflets, targets and processes.

We are now working with stakeholders on the medium-term recommendations such as improving customer care, seeking advice from a user-led organisation, improving the consistency of take-up and working towards a single assessment process with local authorities.

The purpose of the funds remains to provide support to severely disabled people, of working age, to enable them to live independently. I have not accepted those recommendations that significantly extend the funds.

The reviewers recommend in the long-term that that there should be a smooth transition towards full integration within a system of personalised budgets. These recommendations will be taken forward as part of the Government’s overall programme to support independent living for disabled people. In the meantime the funds will continue in their present form.