Dozens of disabled people hit by changes to Independent Living Fund in Brighton and Hove

An edited version of this article is available here: Brighton and Hove news

Forty disabled people with high support needs may be prevented from remaining in their homes in Brighton and Hove because of the closure of the Independent Living Fund at the end of June.

Both Green and Labour councillors in Brighton Hove proposed motions to full council yesterday to reinstate or ring fence the Independent Living Fund for disabled people with the most complex needs.

Labour Councillor Hamilton drafted a motion asking for the Independent Living Fund to be permanently reinstated and linked to inflation.

Councillor Theobald, Leader of the Conservative group, said there would be no five percent cut by Brighton and Hove councillors and Labour Councillor Hamilton said the fund is still ring fenced nationally.

Labour Councillor Barford said: “No change is easy, especially no two tier approach.  Forty people in the city now face different assessment criteria because of the closure of the Independent Living Fund.”

Green Party Councillor Page said: “People’s lives are not primarily about money and should not be determined by budgets.”

One of Councillor Page’s constituents approached him and said since he had lost his live in carer, he had become a prisoner in his own home and had no quality of life.

The Green Party would like to see a stand-alone fund in Brighton and Hove.

Section 31 of the Adult Social Care Act provides for the Independent Living Fund and £491,000 has been transferred until March 2016.

In December 2014 High Court Judge, Mrs Justice Andrews, found that as a consequence of the closure of the Fund, “independent living might well be put seriously in peril for… most ILF users.”

Councillors who voted against the reinstatement of the fund believe that additional money will not be necessary.

This is because of the transfer of almost half a million pounds to the 40 people affected in Brighton and Hove for the next nine months.

Full council voted by 26 votes to 23 not to reinstate the Independent Living Fund or ring fence ILF money for individual users in Brighton and Hove until 2019 and beyond.

Let’s track extremists without being a surveillance society

When British tourists die, we glimpse the despair which is a daily reality in many parts of the Middle East and Africa.

Up to 30 British people have died in Tunisia, including a Sussex couple, Janet and John Stocker, who are still missing.

Nothing detracts from the anguish of their families here at home.  The lives of maimed or traumatised survivors and bereaved relatives will never be the same again.

Thankfully terrorist incidents affecting British people are unusual.

However, we should not be afraid to travel abroad.  We must not give in to fear.

In Kuwait, 27 worshippers died and 227 Muslims have been wounded as they prayed for mercy, safety and comfort.

For them, there is no escape from gunfire and growing regional instability.  For them, there is no flight home.

The intractable problem is how to protect the essential right of peaceful Muslims to worship; and stamp out distorted religious extremism that legitimises mass murder.

Unfortunately, armed terrorists will continue to recruit impressionable young people and others who feel out of place in Europe, from Mosques.

Imams must be vigilant and look after their young people.

There is widespread, global concern about militant, Islamic extremists who want to live in an Islamic state, a Caliphate.

It is very clear that Britain is a more progressive place because it is multicultural.

British security services will always track possible extremists but should not over react and spy on innocent British residents.  We must not become a surveillance society.

Parliament will decide if further powers are necessary to protect British residents and their independence.  This must include freedom from observation.

This article was first published in The Argus on Saturday 4th July.

Let’s track extremists without being a surveillance society.


Lib Dem leadership contender brings hope message to Brighton

Tim Farron spoke to Lib Dem members on Thursday July 10 and told them: “Leaders need to be traders in optimism.”

Asked about the general election result, he said: “This is not our first near death experience.”

He was concerned that some politicians, primarily from UKIP, could occupy a place in politics that they didn’t deserve and become an insurgent force.

Mr Farron said: “Let’s have nuanced compassion for refugees.”

He said that migration should be treated as a blessing, not a curse.

When asked about the Greek crisis in the Eurozone, Mr Farron said: “Economics is about people.”

He said that he was apprehensive about humiliating the Greek people which may lead to a swing from the far left, Syriza party, to the far right.

“Mrs Merkel is potentially stoking a monster that we may not be able to control,” he said.

Mr Farron said: “Politics should be at the highest level necessary and the lowest level possible.”

He urged party activists to win a ward in Brighton and Hove and change lives.

Read the full article on Brighton and Hove News website by following this link: Lib Dem Leadership Contender brings message of hope to Brighton