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Sunday, January 22, 2017

AM's challenge over Independent Living Grant

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has challenged the First Minister over the Welsh Government’s decision to transfer the Welsh Independent Living Grant to local authorities.

The Welsh Independent Living Grant helps disabled people to live independently.

Mr Isherwood (pictured), who chairs the Cross Party Group on Disability, told Carwyn Jones of the concerns this is causing disabled people.

In November Mr Isherwood urged the Welsh Government to provide a statement or debate on future support for disabled former recipients of the Independent Living Fund.

In the chamber he said: “Further to the Welsh Government announcement it was transferring the Welsh Independent Living Grant to local authorities, a campaigner in Wrexham, Nathan Davies said he felt that disabled people had been sold down the river and that all they could see was yet more fighting.

"Disability Wales expressed disappointment that the Welsh Government didn’t follow Scotland in setting up an Independent Living Fund (ILF) which Northern Ireland has also commissioned its ILF from.

“How, therefore, will you engage with such concerns to ensure that not only local authorities and health boards, but the Welsh Government itself, is complying with the intention of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, placing a duty on public authorities to promote the involvement of people in the design and delivery of care and support services?”

The First Minister replied: “The decision was taken to enable payments to be made uninterrupted to former recipients in Wales. It was an interim decision, designed to last until 31 March this year, while we considered which arrangements were appropriate to provide support in the longer term.

"Following advice from the stakeholders advisory group, which does include organisations that represent disabled people in Wales, we are introducing, from this April, a two-year transitional arrangement, whereby support in the future will be through normal social care provision.”

Mr Isherwood added: “the UK Government devolved responsibility for the Independent Living Fund, transferring £27 million recurrent annual funding to the Labour Welsh Government, and the Welsh Government introduced its Welsh Independent Living Grant on 1st July 2015, to run until the end of March 2017.
"It should have been designed and delivered with disabled people themselves.”

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