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Position on ILF 'Clarified'

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The government's position on the future of the Independent Living Fund has been clarified, but many uncertainties remain. The ILF stopped taking applications from new clients for the rest of 2010-11 in June. Then in September Community Care magazine quoted Pam Duncan of the Independent Living in Scotland project as saying that the scheme faced permanent closure as a part of the Comprehensive Spending Review. At the time the government responded by saying that no decision had been taken. And when details of the review were published in October, the future of the ILF was still 'under review'. Today Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller has said that the ILF is 'unsustainable' in the long run and will remain permanently closed to new applicants. However, existing recipients would be protected. They have not clarified, however, what this protection will look like.

 

It seems likely that, subject to a consultation exercise,  ILF will be merged into local authority adult social care budgets, and then paid to people as a part of their 'individual budgets'. Whilst the government give a commitment to 'Fully protect the programme budget for existing recipients of the Independent Living Fund within DWP throughout this Parliament', they have not clarified whether the total amount available to people in their budgets would be protected in the same way. Currently the relationship between ILF and services charged under Fairer Access to Care Services is complicated; some types of support are fundable under both schemes at different rates. Until the outcome of the consultation emerges, many people will be left wondering if their overall entitlement will still be reduced.

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