Scottish government announces reopening of Independent Living Fund

The Scottish government has announced it is to reopen the Independent Living Fund (ILF) for severely disabled people, 13 years after it was closed to new applicants.

First minister Humza Yousaf announced the measure in his programme for government statement for 2023/24, with the ILF to reopen in the next financial year.

pink and white box

‘During the summer I spent a considerable amount of time hearing directly from people – from all walks of life – about the challenges they are struggling with,’ Yousaf said in his statement.

‘One group, who are inspirational, is the Purple Poncho Players. A theatrical group made up of disabled people who put on gripping performances which challenge governments and all of us in society to confront the uncomfortable truth of life as a disabled person in Scotland.

‘I heard very moving testimony from them, the Glasgow Disability Alliance and others who have been affected by the closure of the Independent Living Fund – which assists disabled people with especially complex needs to get the support they need in order to live independent lives.

‘I am therefore pleased to announce today I will reopen the Independent Living Fund in the next financial year, with an initial investment of up to £9 million.’

The ILF helped disabled people with high support needs to live independently in their communities rather than moving into care homes. Set up as UK-wide scheme in 1988, the ILF was closed to new applicants in late 2010 under the Westminster government’s austerity programme, and then fully shut down in 2015, with responsibility for supporting existing claimants passed on to councils in England, and to a new public body, ILF Scotland, to administer the fund for legacy Scottish claimants on behalf of the devolved government.

When management of the legacy fund was transferred to ILF Scotland in 2015, there were just over 3,000 people in Scotland receiving funding under the scheme. Largely due to the death of existing recipients over time, the 2015 Fund as at July 2023 supported just under 2,000 of that inherited population through a lifetime award that is on average nearly £500 a week.

ILF Scotland had been among the organisations lobbying for the fund to be reopened to new claimants in Scotland.

Image: Yomex Owo

More on this topic:

Campaigners slam government plans to tighten disability benefit tests


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top