Plans to support 1,600 severely disabled people in Wales to live independently

The Welsh Government will step in to support more than 1,600 severely disabled people in Wales who currently rely on a UK Goverment fund for their care needs when it closes next year, Mark announced this week, in his capacity as Health and Social Services Minister.

The UK Government will close the Independent Living Fund (ILF) on June 30, 2015.

The fund makes direct cash payments to disabled people who have significant care needs. It helps them to meet the cost of the care and support they need or to employ their own personal assistant.

Payments can be used for a range of support, including:

•assistance with eating and drinking;

•cooking and preparing food and drink;

•assistance with dressing;

•cleaning, laundry and other domestic duties.

As of July this year there were 1,686 ILF recipients in Wales, who overall received, on average just over £335 a week to meet their needs.

The Welsh Government is consulting on a range of options for providing the ILF support after June 2015. These range from passing responsibility and funding to local authorities to establishing a Welsh fund similar to the current Independent Living Fund.

Mark said:

“Whatever our views about the UK Government’s decision to close the Independent Living Fund, we need to agree and put in place future arrangements in Wales to support current ILF recipients to continue to live independently.

“The UK Government’s decision to close the ILF has caused anxiety among those who receive support. I want to reassure them that we are committed to ensuring appropriate arrangements will be in place in good time to meet their support needs.

“I would encourage all those with an interest take part in the consultation to make their views about the best way to meet recipients’ needs in the future known.”