Government to give councils Independent Living Fund money for four more years

Councils will receive the funding but there will be no obligation to spend it on former ILF recipients, or even on social care

Central government has agreed to give councils in England the money to fund former users of the Independent Living Fund until 2020.

It previously said it would provide transition cash to councils until April this year, but a consultation document published this month has stated the government intends to give councils four more years’ worth of funding.

Falling funding

In the consultation the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said the amount of the grant would fall incrementally from a total of £177m this financial year to £161m by the end of the Parliament. It also set out projected funding allocations for each local authority for the next four years.

The ILF was a fund established in 1988 to enable disabled people to continue to live in the community rather than in residential care.

Critics said the fund led to an inequality of provision, while campaigners who fought to keep it open said the fund’s closure would create a “postcode lottery”. It closed last summer, leaving up to 18,000 people facing a potential reduction in their care.

Not ringfenced

The money will not be ring-fenced, meaning local authorities will be under no obligation to spend the funds on former ILF recipients, or even on adult social care.

In an equalities statement within the consultation document, the DCLG stated there was “no way of assessing” whether local authorities will use the funding to maintain care packages in full.

“However, the government is committed to ensuring that funding is provided at a level where the choice to do so is made by the council,” the statement said.

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