Five disabled people yesterday (April 24th) lost their High Court challenge over the Government’s decision to abolish the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in 2015 and replace it with council funding.
Currently 19,000 people receive financial help of around £300 a week from the ILF so that they can live independently but the Department for Work and Pensions said that the new personal budgets gave disabled people more control and that it made more sense for local authorities to administer a single system.
However, the five claimants took the case to the High Court because of fears that disabled people could be forced out of independent living arrangements into residential care or be trapped at home if the ILF was closed.
They also argued that the Government had not given clear reasons for closing the fund and that the consultation featured inadequate information on the differences between the fund and local authority assessment and provision and that there had not been proper assessment of the impact of the change on disabled people’s ability to live and work independently.
Meanwhile, critics of the Government’s decision say that councils will not be able to pick up the shortfall, as they are already facing major budget cuts, which will mean that disabled people will lose out.
Disability charity Scope said that it is unacceptable that disabled people will not get the support to wash, dress and leave their homes and that cutting the fund is an assault on their basic dignity.
However, the five claimants announced yesterday that they will now ask the Court of Appeal to overturn the High Court’s decision, and remain adamant that the consultation process was flawed.
Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London
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