Disability Wales is calling on Welsh Government to take extra steps to protect disabled people who receive the Wales Independent Living Grants. By not ring fencing the funding, disabled people risk losing vital support and access.
The original UK-wide Independent Living Fund was closed in 2015, with responsibility being transferred to Welsh Government for determining the future of the grants for recipients living in Wales. The grants have been administered by Welsh Government whilst decisions were taken on the future of the scheme.
Wales IL Grants to Move to Local Authorities
Disability Wales is disappointed that responsibility for supporting people who receive the grants in Wales is being passed onto local authorities. A similar move in England has seen disabled people lose crucial support services and funding. This prevents people from living independently and lowers quality of life.
A transition period of two years is being given to enable authorities to assess and put in place support which we feel could be too short. Additionally, the funding is not ring fenced and there is no guarantee that current recipients will still receive the support they need.
Ring-fence Funding to Enable Appropriate Support
Unless the funding is ring fenced, Disability Wales fears it will not be allocated where it is most needed.
Cuts to individual funding and support packages mean that disabled people with complex support needs will be less able to live independently. In the current environment of cuts to services it is feared that disabled people will be further marginalised and isolated without appropriate support.
Scotland and Northern Ireland continue to administer the Independent Living Fund through ILF Scotland. Disability Wales hoped that a similar scheme would be put in place for Wales.
Although Disability Wales were involved with the stakeholder group that advised Welsh Government on this funding scheme, our preferred option of creating a Wales ILF was not included for the group’s consideration as it was not considered by Welsh Government to be viable within available funds. As such, all stakeholders have been required to work within these constraints in advising Welsh Government.
Disability Wales in the News on ILF
“Rhian Davies, chief executive of Disability Wales, said the charity was “disappointed” the Welsh Government did not enhance the existing grant scheme along the lines of the ILF set up by the Scottish Government.
She claimed the transition period was short, adding: “Our concern is whether the same level of support will be afforded to people within that two-year time span.”
The Welsh Government is yet to decide whether local councils will be required to spend the transferred cash on former ILF claimants.
Ms Davies called for the funding to be ring-fenced for the next two years.
“I think if that assurance was given by the Welsh Government to individuals and their families it would help remove some of the fear that people have that they may lose their ability to live independently in the community,” she said.”
For information on the impact of ILF cuts in England:
Information on ILF Scotland: