The Independent Living Fund could still have a future under government plans to consult on whether to retain it or transfer its funds to local authorities, it has emerged.
Amid expectations that the the ILF, which funds care payments for severely disabled people, would be scrapped in the government’s bonfire of quangos, announced yesterday, it received a stay of execution when ministers said its future was yet to be decided, to the relief of disability campaigners.
The Department for Work and Pensions, which funds the ILF to the tune of £360m a year, has held talks on the fund’s future with the ILF and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said John Nawrockyi, the chair of Adass’s physical disabilities network.
“Yesterday’s announcement was in line with what [the DWP] is telling us,” he said. “We are expecting an announcement in due course about a consultation on future options for the ILF.”
One option would be transferring the ILF’s budget to councils, though Nawrockyi said other options would be considered, which could include keeping the fund as a separate body.
He said the decision on its future was finely balanced.
“We accept that the ILF is a very special brand and means a lot to its recipients,” he said. “They value it because it’s not the local authority. We can also see the rationale for streamlining adult social care funding in the current economic climate.”
He said councils would be able to take on responsibility for the ILF’s 21,000 clients across the UK, but insisted any resources transferred to local authorities would need to be protected, not reduced, as service users dropped out of services or died.
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