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"Deadline looms over 'shadow' report"
This piece from the Disability News Service looks at the urgent calls for Disabled People's Organisations to come together to produce a single shadow submission to the United Nations committee on the Rights of Disabled People before the June deadline. The committee are collecting evidence on how the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People is being implemented in the UK:
Closure of Independent Living Fund
Yesterday, Mike Penning - the Minister of State for Disabled People - announced that the Independent Living Fund (ILF) will close at the end of June next year. This follows a high profile court of appeal judgement last year which found that the planned closure was unlawful under the terms of the Equality Act's Public Sector Equality Duty. The appeal judges said that the government did not have enough documentary evidence on the "potentially very grave impact" of the closure on disabled people who use the fund.
Mike Penning stated that he has since considered all of the evidence and a new equality analysis has been done. In his Ministerial Statement, he said:
"It is clear to me, from considering all of the evidence, that there is considerable concern among Independent Living Fund users, about the potential impact of closing the fund on their independence and on their ability to exercise choice and control over how their care and support is managed. I also recognise that many users believe that closing the Independent Living Fund will affect their ability to continue to live independently in their own homes, to pursue educational and employment opportunities, and to participate in social activities.
However, I do not believe that continuing a separate system of support, operating through a discretionary trust and outside the statutory mainstream adult social care system, is the right approach. The key features that have contributed to the Independent Living Fund’s success, in particular, the choice and control it has given disabled people over how their care and support is managed, are now provided, or are very soon to be provided, within the mainstream system. To continue with the present arrangements, which benefit a relatively small proportion of disabled people, would therefore fail to take account of the significant developments in adult social care and the changes which have been made in the past 20 years, in the way disabled people are supported to live independent lives.
I remain committed to maintaining awards to current users until the Independent Living Fund closes. However, I do not think that the current two-tier arrangements are justified and it is my intention to close the Independent Living Fund on 30 June 2015. Following closure, local authorities in England will take direct responsibility for meeting the eligible care and support needs of current Independent Living Fund users in line with their statutory responsibilities. The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will determine how Independent Living Fund users in each of those parts of the UK, are supported within their distinct care and support systems. As previously announced, at the point of transfer local authorities and the devolved administrations will be funded to enable them to meet their new responsibilities towards former Independent Living Fund users."
The full text of his statement is at:
Their equality analysis on the closure of the ILF is at:
This decision has been met with dismay by disabled people and their organisations. For example, Liz Carr - a disabled comedian, actor and ILF user - is quoted by Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) as saying:
“The closure of the Independent Living Fund will inevitably lead to the erosion of independence, inclusion and freedom for disabled people who have high levels of need. I am one of the 18,000 people in the UK who receive support from the ILF and it is this funding to pay people to do the things I physically can’t do which enables me to get up in the morning, work and have the same kinds of opportunities as everyone else. I don’t think I’m being overdramatic when I say that today’s news is devastating to those of us whose lives and existence owes a great deal to the Independent Living Fund. How can already strapped for cash Local authorities take up the slack when the Fund closes in the summer of 2015? How many of us are going to lose our independence as residential care provides a more cost effective option? A future without the ILF is terrifying.”
DPAC's statement on the closure is at:
The Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People have been campaigning strongly against the closure of the ILF and have described the news as "appalling":
European "Stop Disability Cuts" website launched
The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) is launching a new website together with the European Foundation Centre and the European Disability Forum.
The website is part of their campaign “Stop Disability Cuts”, which "seeks to raise awareness of the increased marginalisation disabled people face as a result of the austerity measures at national and European level":
DWP Reviewing their Alternative Format Provision
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have started a review of the way in which they provide alternative formats.
“You are invited to comment on DWP’s current review of the provision of the guidance and procedures for identifying customer needs and providing DWP information and letters in alternative formats. Specifically the review is:
- looking at all aspects of DWP internal guidance and procedures which enable it to identify customers who require information in alternative format.
- looking at the processes and procedures that enable DWP to put these adjustments in place.
The closing date for responses is the 30th April 2014.”
More background is on the Disability Rights UK website at: