Independent Living Fund — [Mr George Howarth in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:12 pm on 8th July 2015.

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Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People) 4:12 pm, 8th July 2015

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. I understand that point. I will come on to the funding that we have passported over, but I understand the point about the change in the system. I was surprised that the figure was as high as 94%. There is that point about change, but the vast majority already had some contribution from the local authority at that point.

At the point of closure, there were 16,000 users of the ILF, compared with 1.3 million users of adult social care in England alone. Transferring full responsibility for ILF users and amalgamating the funding with adult social care will ensure that support for disabled people is delivered consistently and effectively. As I said, the decision to close the ILF, announced in a written ministerial statement, followed careful consideration of the implications of a Court of Appeal judgment handed down in November 2013.

The current position is that the ILF closed on 30 June and full funding for the remainder of the financial year has been transferred to local authorities in England and the devolved Administrations in Scotland and Wales. Local authorities in England now take full responsibility for former ILF users living here. I believe that local communities are best placed to make decisions about how to use funding to support members of their community and that local authorities should have the flexibility to decide how best to provide funding and support at local level.

Scotland and Wales have also now taken full responsibility for the care and support of former ILF users living there. Scotland has decided to create a new organisation to manage the transferred funding for former users, and in Wales the funding has transferred to local authorities to administer while the Welsh Government decide what course of action to take in the longer term. Northern Ireland has always funded support for ILF users living there and continues to do so, but it has asked the Scottish Government to administer this funding on its behalf.

As part of the 2013 spending review, it was announced that local authorities in England and the devolved Administrations in Scotland and Wales would be fully funded in 2015-16 to meet their additional responsibilities towards former ILF users. A total of £262 million has been made available for ILF users in 2015-16. That amount was based on very accurate forecasts by the ILF and is the same amount that would have been available had the ILF remained open.

Since the ILF was closed to new applicants in 2010, the number of users has reduced year on year, meaning that spending has also decreased. Funding for 2015-16 reflects projected reductions in the number of users between 2014-15 and 2015-16. It is therefore not a cut in the level of available funding.

Funding has been distributed among England, Scotland and Wales in a way that reflects expenditure patterns at the point of closure, with funding in England being allocated to individual local authorities on the same basis. Before its closure, the ILF provided each local authority in England with detailed schedules setting out the allocated funding at individual level, ensuring that every authority has received accurate information about the level of support previously provided to each user by the ILF. Final analysis from the ILF shows that the funding allocated to local authorities in England will be sufficient to ensure that existing commitments to former ILF users can be paid in full for the remainder of the year.