(Note: This is a personal post)
As an aside to today’s announcement that the ILF is to be closed from 2015 onwards, it’s worth pointing out the timing couldn’t be any worse, because today is the day that the Right to Control is launched in Trailblazers across the country.
(It’s also the day on which the government has announced that those organisations which will most likely become responsible for ILF users post-2015 – local Councils – have had an average of 4.4% taken from their budgets.)
The Right to Control is a new legal right that gives disabled people more choice and control over the services they receive.
Amongst many other services, one of these is, erm, the Independent Living Fund.
Despite the fact the ILF change won’t happen until 2015 and that the Right to Control maintains eligibility criteria for all funding streams (meaning that only current ILF users could benefit), making the announcement that the ILF is to close today risks hugely undermining what is actually a very good project.
I’ve been closely involved in the development of the Trailblazer (news of today’s launch available on my employer’s website here). Throughout this development, the uncertainty floating around about the ILF has added complexity into what is already a complicated (but deliverable) project. With this announcement, the government will replace uncertainty with anxiety and worry. And whilst that exists, it’s highly likely the people affected won’t feel enabled or empowered to take up the choice and control the Right to Control offers.
As I implied in my earlier post, what the government says on disability is very different to what it does.
(For more information on the Right to Control, please see my series of posts here.)