“I am very pleased to see this firm commitment”, writes kittysjones.
“Labour have fought very hard to save the Independent Living Fund, which the Coalition have insisted on withdrawing, despite this being in contravention of our own laws and internationally established Human Rights. This commitment from Ed Miliband is in line with Labour’s Equality Act, 2010.”
Vox Political is also happy to welcome this policy commitment from Mr Miliband. Labour didn’t start the fund; it was set up in 1988 to fund support for disabled people with high support needs, enabling them to live in the community rather than move into residential care. It seems to have been part of Margaret Thatcher’s ‘care in the community’ initiative.
According to Wikipedia: “In December 2010 the Government announced the closure of the Fund to new applicants, and in December 2012, following a consultation on the future of the Fund, it was announced that the Fund would be closed permanently from April 2015. The Government claimed that Local Authorities could meet the same outcomes as the ILF and proposed transfer for existing ILF recipients to their Local Authorities.
“In May 2014 The Court of Appeal, in the case of Bracking and others v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions found that the Department of Work and Pensions’ decision to close the Fund was not lawful, overturning the High Court decision of April 2013. It decided that the Department had not complied with the Public Sector Equality Duties imposed by section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. The Court agreed that documents which the Minister, Esther McVey, had seen in the run up to her decision proved that “the Minister did not receive a sufficient understanding of the true threat to independent living for ILF users posed by the proposal to close the fund”. Lord Justice McCombe said ‘there is simply not the evidence … to demonstrate to the court that a focussed regard was had to the potentially very grave impact upon individuals in this group of disabled persons, within the context of a consideration of the statutory requirements for disabled people as a whole’.
“The Government has announced that it will not appeal against this decision so the Fund will continue for the time being.”
If a Labour government is returned in May, it will continue indefinitely, with government support.
Now, what were Labour’s critics saying about this, again?
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