Borders Voluntary Care Voice has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that a new Scottish Independent Living Fund (ILF) is to be created.
The current UK Government’s support scheme is due to close in June 2015 and has been closed to new users since 2010.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced last week that the new scheme will safeguard support given to more than 3000 disabled people across Scotland and will re-open it to new users.
The move follows a consultation at the end of last year on plans for the future of the fund.
Borders Voluntary Care Voice, in partnership with local user-led organisations, held a series of consultation meetings with people who currently receive ILF and disabled people who may have been eligible for support. Their views were collated and sent to Scottish Government.
The overwhelming view was that the fund should continue.
Assistant Co-ordinator of Borders Voluntary Care Voice, Kathleen Travers, said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s announcement that support will continue. One of the most beneficial aspects of ILF for recipients and carers alike is that it enables people to stay in their own homes, and to be as independent as possible.”
“The Scottish Government has listened to the views of disabled people. During the consultation, local people told us that support should be available to people who would have been eligible for ILF funding before it closed – or those who were unaware of the existence of ILF and therefore did not apply even though they may been eligible – as this was a major inequity of the system.”
Unlike England, where the responsibility for the ILF will be devolved to local authorities, the Scottish Government will develop a national system run by the third sector.
“The Borders response to the consultation also expressed the view that the fund should be run by the third sector, rather than the local authority, with the involvement of service users and carers,” added Kathleen. “There was a fear that, if the funding was held within the local authority, it would be swallowed up in already strapped social work budgets.”