Linda Burnip – Independent Living Fund
I noticed recently that a survey has found high levels of mental illness amongst family carers, and given the vicious and on-going cuts to social care and other vital support functions that both disabled people and their family carers rely on this is hardly surprising.
Family carers save the country £119billion , yet they have always been treated with a complete lack of respect and value.
Being a family carer has always been seen as a burden and something undesirable. Why would this be the case if there was proper support available to help people with this task?
Cuts to social care budgets from 2010-2012 were £1.8 billion and the projected loss to local authority budgets in 2013 and 2014 are a further 26%. In spite of this the government are ploughing haplessly ahead with their plans to scrap the Independent Living Fund with no replacement funding in sight after 2016 and no ring-fenced funding in sight from its closure in 2015. This fund helps to meet the additional support needs of 20,000 disabled people with the highest needs. Mostly those who need 24 hour care both day and night.
The lack of local authority funding and the closure of this ring-fenced funding stream will have a catastrophic impact on the lives of disabled people, who at the moment are able to live independently in the community with choice and control over their own lives, and also on the lives of their families (if they have one).
It will take us back to the days when the only option available for those with high support needs is residential care placements, many of which will be for young disabled adults in totally inappropriate Elderly Persons’ Homes.
And what of the family carers who will otherwise have to take back caring responsibilities resulting in the whole family losing any choice and control over their lives. Many of the parents of ILF users are disabled and elderly themselves, yet they will no doubt be expected to provide 24 hour care, with no support from social services, and little chance of any respite care being available.
How long will this type of situation be able to continue before there is a safeguarding disaster?
Many young adults who are funded by ILF have previously been in residential care homes due to the behavioural difficulties they present and were removed by parents following abuse both physical and verbal. Will these people be forced back into similarly abusive situations? It seems so.
Still what’s the other option – extermination at birth or a lifetime spent in abusive institutions, or equally as bad a lifetime spent imprisoned at home with no physical support and a only a pack of incontinence pads to excrete into.
For further details see DPAC website