UK Politics

Disability Living Fund closure to go ahead - minister

Disabled woman in office

The government is to press ahead with the closure of the Independent Living Fund, which provides support for more than 18,000 severely disabled people.

It is the second time it has attempted to close the £320m fund.

The Court of Appeal ruled against such a move last year, saying the government had not given proper consideration to issues raised by the Equality Act.

But Disabilities Minister Mike Penning said the coalition was planning to close the fund on 30 June next year.

He said a new equalities analysis had been carried out by the Department for Work and Pensions.

'Potential'

Mr Penning added: "Our understanding of disabled people has changed over the past 20 years, and along with it there have been significant developments in how we provide social care to disabled people so they can live independent lives.

"We continue to spend £50bn a year on disabled people and the services provided to them and, as part of the government's long-term economic plan, we want to make sure that disabled people are given the support that allows them to fulfil their potential."

In 2012, the government decided to close the Independent Living Fund and devolve the funding to local authorities.

That meant the money would no longer be ring-fenced, would be subject to normal budget cuts, and many disabled people feared that they would lose it.

The High Court ruled in April last year that the decision to close the fund was lawful but this was overturned by the Court of Appeal in November.

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