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Tuesday 18th December 2012 | 13:36
PCS union press release
Cuts announced today (18) to dedicated support to help disabled people to live independent lives in their communities are "simply cruel" and will end up costing the taxpayer more, the Public and Commercial Services union says.
The government has confirmed the Independent Living Fund, which it closed to new entries in 2010, will be shut down completely from 31 March 2015, with responsibility devolved to local authorities in England and administrations in Scotland and Wales.
With funding for these authorities unlikely to be ring-fenced one-to-one support currently available will be lost, as local council budgets grapple with huge cuts in government spending.
With the difference between the average ILF payment and the cost of residential care being almost £38,000 a year, the union says closing the fund will not only leave people with some of the most complex needs without the necessary support, it will end up costing more.
Research by campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts, using freedom of information requests, revealed that local authorities spent between 10% and 24% of their total adult care budgets on overheads. Overhead costs of the ILF represent only 2% of the budget.
The research also showed that all councils surveyed had experienced large reductions in their adult care budgets, with one local authority having faced cuts of more than 10% in the last two years.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Not only is it simply cruel to cut dedicated support for disabled people to live independent lives, this will end up costing us more.
"Local authorities have had their budgets ripped to shreds by this government and we fear this vital funding will be swallowed up as councils battle to make ends meet."