Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union Press Release:
Disabled people could lose their independence as a result of a cut to a key fund, a government minister admitted today.
Speaking in Nic Dakin MP’s Westminster Hall debate about the closure of the Independent Living Fund, minister for disabled people Mike Penning stated he “could not guarantee” people’s future independence would not be compromised.
The Public and Commercial Services union says this ought to be enough to reverse the closure plans.
More than 18,000 severely disabled people rely on the fund for dignity and independence instead of being in residential care.
In November 2013 the Court of Appeal upheld a legal challenge to the government’s decision to close the ILF in March 2015. Four months later ministers announced plans to press ahead and close it by June 2015.
Responsibility for funding will be passed to local authorities but funding will not be ringfenced. The union believes massive cuts to council budgets, coupled with the loss of experienced ILF staff, will mean current recipients will be placed in residential care or left at home without adequate care.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said:
“It is shocking that the government is pressing ahead with the closure of the fund when ministers appear to accept disabled people will suffer as a result.
“The plans should be scrapped and the government should commit to fully supporting severely disabled people to have the kind of independence the rest of us take for granted.”