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Independent Living Fund to be wound up

15th October 2013

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

Under government proposals, the Independent Living Fund (ILF), which aids tens of thousands of people in the UK, is to be closed by as soon as 2015. While councils and those helped by the scheme have been aware of this closure since the end of 2010, it is being argued that local authorities should be doing more to fight to keep the aid.

The scheme helps those with disabilities continue to live in their homes independently, in addition to the support provided by mobility aids such as home stair lifts and visiting carers, and primarily works to allow such people stay out of care homes when they would prefer to remain in their own properties. The scheme is worth £359m and pays out on average of £300 a week, which contributes significantly towards the cost of care.

There has been widespread opposition to the proposed closure of the fund since the plans were announced, with a call for councils to do more to fight the funding cuts, as argued in this article from the Guardian. The article argues that, without the ILF, ‘people will become imprisoned in their own homes or face being forced into residential care’.

Currently, people with such disabilities as a lack of mobility caused by rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions are able to live at home independently with the help of carers, walk in bathtubs and other forms of aid that contribute towards maintaining a relatively active lifestyle. It is feared that, without the ILF, not only will these people lose a great deal of freedom come 2016, but that the closure will increase rather than decrease the existing burden on the taxpayer.

The cost of the fund is comparatively small and allows its beneficiaries to enjoy a better quality of life; without the fund, these people may have to go into care homes, which can cost considerably more and may impact on the individual’s ability to stay active.

Image Credit: Ctd 2005 (flickr.com)