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.