Disabled people in Bristol facing the removal of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) will today be the subject of a Full Council motion by the Green Party that calls for the Mayor to ringfence the fund.
The government announced in December 2010 that the ILF would be closed to new applicants, and in December 2012 confirmed that the fund would be closed permanently from June 2015. Over 100 Bristol residents currently receive ILF in order to pay for personal assistants and independent living. The costs for local authorities to enable these residents to live independently would increase after the fund is closed.
Rob Telford, Green Party councillor for Ashley ward and vice-chair of the People scrutiny commission (the directorate under which funding for social care falls), said:
"The Court of Appeal confirmed in November 2013 what most of us understand instinctively– that the Minister for Disabilities failed to consider the duty of government to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. The ILF is vital for over 100 Bristol residents to be able to live independently – we must act now to safeguard it."
Tony Dyer, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Bristol South, said:
"The ILF has enabled thousands of disabled people to live independent lives. The current average weekly payment to ILF recipients is £346, whereas residential care costs are on average £738 per week (and in some cases, £3,500). It simply does not make economic, social or common sense for the Coalition to cut this fund. However, if the fund is cut, Bristol has a chance today to ensure we ring-fence any transferred funding to allow our fellow citizens to continue to live independent lives."
Campaign group Disability Rights UK have recently found that a number of local authorities have not put adequate contingency or ringfenced funding in place to compensate for the loss of ILF payments amongst disabled people.1
The motion has already received support from Bristol Disability Equality Forum2 and Disabled People Against Cuts.3
The Green Party recognises all disabled people, including people with sensory, learning, physical and mental health impairments, should be able to live in the community with appropriate support.4
For more information, contact Rob Telford on 07756-355-547
4 The Green Party’s social welfare policies can be found at: http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/SW (specifically: SW600 onwards)