Independent Living Fund’s Closure Is Good for Disabled People

While there is five disabled people who are celebrating today because they believe they have stopped the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) after their high court appeal, there are 19000 other users, including myself, who now have a lot to fear about as the actions of a few trying to escape reality has potentially harmed the lives of so many.

The fund was set up in 1988 in an era before direct payments and personalisation to enable people with high support needs to live independently. I believe the social care departments within councils have matched and surpassed the ideas of ILF. In 2007, an independent report was produced, commissioned by the Labour government, that highlighted the fund had a number of serious failings in the way it was accountable to users and the way it handled complaints, or rather didn’t. The report concluded the fund was not fit for purpose in the long term, and needed to be scrapped.

It must also be highlighted that the fund has been closed to new users since early 2010, and it has never been the intention of the five users to get the fund reopened, merely to keep their funding without any further assessment. It is worth noting that the five users were supported by the extremist group, Disabled People Against Cuts, who systematically focused on a lie that is April 2015, when the fund should close, that all users will be systematically put in residential care against their will, where of course they are likely to suffer abuse. This lie has not only been designed to frighten ILF Users, but to promote pity from an unaware public.

The fact they do not wish you to know if the money to support disabled people is not going to disappear but is being transferred to the councils to manage. While there is again all this talk of cuts within social care by those who oppose the government, I am not seeing it especially since the supposed crisis in care is the fact the middle class have home to sell their to pay for the care they and their family chooses for them to have! But without any evidence, DPAC and others, tell me that councils will cut my care to the bone like I was an animal. The fact a proportion of my support is already from my local council since 1996 is overlooked and that they are not the evil monsters these out of date activists wish them to be portray them as.

Saving the fund provides no guarantees any of its users will be free from cuts, and quite the opposite, the fund will now be forced to make worst cuts than if the fund was closing. Since the fund has never assessed people based on the resources it had, just being a supposedly free for all, it is likely to make a hatchet job of them since it does not have the sophistication and experience of managing limited resources as councils do. Because councils have more experience, and have a wider range of services and tools as their disposal, they can do a better job at meeting the needs of users in a way that offers a better quality service for the best value for money.

The fact the appeal was won on a political correct notion of equality is an embarrassment to the British Justice system, because the judgement has potentially guaranteed inequality as it supports a two tier system for people with high support needs. The fund was always elitist, and I say that as an user, and now that elitism has been protected by the courts, simply to please the anti-government lobby.

The only way to properly ensure the needs of everyone with high support needs is met, is to close the fund and encourage and even force the councils to properly support people with high support needs based on their outcomes and willingness to make an contribution to society. I sincerely hopes the government that the interests of the majority over the wants of a minority of five users, and ensure the fund closes on time and properly supports councils to bring a good quality of life to everyone with high support needs, not just the disability elite.

from Simon Stevens


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