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Independent Living Fund

Volume 520: debated on Monday 13 December 2010

In June 2010, following the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) to new applicants for the remainder of the 2010-11 financial year, the coalition Government announced that they would work closely with the trustees of the fund to consider settling the future of the fund.

The Government are firmly committed to disability equality and the development of a personalised approach providing full choice and control for disabled people. The 2007 independent review of the ILF recommended reform to ensure long-term sustainability. We believe there is a strong and principled case for reform and for the social care support needs of all disabled people to be delivered equitably as part of local authorities’ broader independent living strategies in line with local priorities and local accountability.

The ILF is a discretionary trust and payments from the fund do not take precedence over the responsibility of the local authority to make an assessment of a user’s needs. Local authorities already have a statutory responsibility to provide social care support to its residents and as part of this responsibility, local authorities will need to consider the requirements of clients who may otherwise have received an additional ILF package.

Having reviewed the role of the Independent Living Fund, and consulted informally with disability organisations, local government representatives and colleagues in the Department of Health, working with the fund’s trustees, we have concluded that the model of the ILF as an independent discretionary trust delivering social care is financially unsustainable. The Independent Living Fund will, therefore, remain closed permanently to new applications and the trustees support this decision.

It remains the priority of the Independent Living Fund and the Government to safeguard the position of the existing recipients of the fund and we will:

In 2011, following the publication of the report by the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support, carry out a formal consultation. This will inform decisions on determining how best to continue to support existing users of the ILF in to a social care system based on the principles of personalised budgets, the findings of the commission and recognising the importance of the support that ILF users have built their lives around. We will consult fully with disabled people, particularly current users of the Independent Living Fund and their families, local authorities and other interested parties, including the devolved Administrations;

Support the ILF to continue to administer existing awards throughout this Parliament; and

Fully protect the programme budget for existing recipients of the Independent Living Fund within DWP throughout this Parliament.