Human rights lawyers have launched a High Court bid to prevent the government rolling its nationally controlled £340m Independent Living Fund into councils’ social care budgets.
A consultation of the future of the fund, which aims to help disabled people participate in civil and social activities has proposed abolishing the government agency which administers the fund nationally. The cash would instead be distributed at a local level by councils, under the DWP’s plans.
The six disabled claimants which are bringing the case fear that the fund will be absorbed into councils’ hard-pressed social care budgets.
Diane Astin, a solicitor at Scott-Moncrieff, one of two law firms representing the claimants, considers that councils would value keeping the fund separate from social care budgets. “This is a fund that is independent and supports what they are able to provide,” she says. “The Independent Living Fund is about promoting independence and enabling disabled people to participate fully in civil and social life. Eligibility criteria is focused on maintaining something else.”
Deighton Pierce Glynn is the other law firm involved in the case.