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Disabled people win appeal against closure of the ILF

14th November 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Five disabled people have won a battle at the Court of Appeal, overturning a previous ruling that the Government's decision to close the Independent Living Fund (ILF) was lawful. The ILF provided essential financial help to those with the most severe disabilities, allowing them to afford care services and mobility aids such as home stairlifts, rather than having to choose one or the other to live independently.

Around 20,000 people currently receive financial help from the ILF, which enables them to pay for an assistant who can help with essential tasks in the home. Although this financial help benefited many people, the Government announced that the ILF would be closed as part of cost-cutting measures. The High Court ruled in December 2012 that this decision was lawful, but five people took the ruling to the Court of Appeal, which has now successfully reversed this decision.

The conclusion was reached after it was argued that the consultation on the closure of the ILF did not show the impact that stopping the fund would have on disabled people and their independence. Lord Justice McCombe, one of the appeal judges, said that the evidence the decision was based on was inadequate and did not give a true picture of the impacts of closure. He said that "independent living might well be put seriously in peril for a large number of people" with the full closure of the ILF.

The government has already closed the ILF to new applications, but this new ruling could mean that preparatory steps to close it for all in March 2015 could be stopped, according to the law firms that represented the five people. This could make a huge difference to the lives of those who have regular help from care assistants at home when carrying out essential tasks such as washing, cooking and getting dressed, ensuring that they have the financial help they need.

Image Credit: ell brown (flickr.com)