Concerns Over Cumbria County Council Care After Funding Changes

Lawyers Argue Local Authorities Should Undertake Re-assessment Before Implementing Cuts To Care

19.04.2016

Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that more than 100 disabled people in Cumbria have had their funding cut after responsibility has been passed from the government to local authorities.

The request found that out of 202 people who received the Independent Living Fund (ILF), 107 have had their packages reduced since last year – 16 of which had it cut by half.

Yet Cumbria County Council said it was still spending all 2.8 million of the funding for disabled people passed to it by the government.

The ILF was set up to allow people with disabilities to live independently, however it was shut down in June last year and the money is now devolved to councils.

The ILF stopped taking new applicants in 2010 and despite protests and legal challenges, was closed even for existing users last year.

Alex Peebles, solicitor at Irwin Mitchell who acts for individuals and groups in connection to cuts to public services, said:

Expert Opinion
“The councils have a real challenge of maintaining people’s care but with being a localised service, care should be focused to ensure that cuts aren’t made to those who need it most. This money has been put into the hands of local authorities for a reason - because the government has said they were better placed to make decisions on funding at a local level.

“I have seen many cases where people’s lives are dramatically changed because of cuts to services, which have a real impact on the well-being of disabled people. The local authorities have the legal responsibility to undertake a re-assessment before implementing cuts to care packages. The re-assessments need to take into account the disabled person’s wellbeing and independent living needs.

“Local Authorities need to ensure that any changes to policies because of cuts to funding go through a proper consultation process and consider the full impact on society. If this is not the case, those authorities could face legal challenges from people who believe they have been unfairly treated or discriminated against.”
Alex Peebles, Solicitor