Closure of Independent Living Fund Legal Judgement
|8 December 2014 at 15:31|
The Independent Living Fund must affect several people within your
constituent base Sir Gerald.
Its closure is a shock to many people requiring it to facilitate their lives.
The further shock is highlighted by the knowledge of its closure
impact being deemed as reasonable within lawful process and the
relevant minister was awarded a lawful status of his decision by the
judge in the High Court.
In all common decency this is an abhorrent part of this draconian
This is extract from Kate Whittaker's comment acting on behalf of Mr
Pepper and Mr Aspinal on the Judicial Review case at the High Court.
However there is a really significant point arising out of the
decision. Essentially the legal challenge was to the process of
decision-making and specifically the question of what information the
Minister had available to him about the likely impact on disabled
people so as to be able to properly exercise the public sector
equality duty. What the judgment highlights is that, in the judge's
view, the Minister clearly believed that the impact of closure on
disabled people and their ability to live independently will be really
severe, and many or most ILF users will be at risk of losing their
ability to work, study or live independently in the community as a
For the purpose of the legal challenge, that meant that (in the
judge's view) the Minister had sufficient information to make a lawful
decision - and that was end of story as far as the court's role went.
But in wider terms it really begs the question of why, in that case,
the Minister decided what he did:
How can it have been justified if he thought the impact would be so severe?
What is the benefit of getting rid of this tried and tested system
of protection for those people who are most at risk of losing their
independence? There has never been any suggestion that it will save
money overall - indeed there is evidence that it may cost far more
than it saves because of (a) the false economies of people losing good
support then getting into crisis and being institutionalised, (b) the
ILF system being such good value for money (extremely low running
costs as it uses trustees) and (c) the double benefit of the ILF
system which not only provides a funding top-up but (crucially) puts
leverage on local authorities to put their contribution towards proper
independent support packages instead of institutional care.
How can this decision to cause such a negative impact on such a
large number of the most severely disabled people in the country be
squared with the need for the Government to actively advance equality
of opportunity for disabled people, including meeting needs better and
increasing participation in public life rather than the other way
Similarly how can it be squared with international obligations the
UK has signed up to such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which stipulates that contracting states
must move forwards not back in realising rights such as that under
Article 19 - the right to live independently in the community with
choices equal to others.
These I think are very fair questions and I would like you to address
them to the Minister Concerned for considered reply.
This is written in the faith that you are aware of people in the
constituency affected by this horrendous situation.