We at Clwyd South CLP are proud to be giving our backing to the Save the Welsh Independent Living Grant campaign.
The Independent Living Fund (ILF) was closed to new applicants in 2010 and the responsibility for payments transferred to Welsh Government in 2015 when ILF finally closed. This eventually became the Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG).
The Welsh Government claim the decision was taken on stakeholder advice. The majority of representatives on the stakeholder group were third sector or citizens. But they didn’t want WILG scrapped and the key point is that our advice was not accepted.
The basic principle here is that there was a ‘triangular’ system to protect/include recipients; 1. The Welsh Government were involved & decision makers, The Local Authority were involved & told by Welsh Government, and monitored by them, to make sure they maximised the support to recipients and 3. The recipients themselves. This system, though not perfect, is the one preferred by recipients.
The Welsh Government has now removed itself from the decision making process and passed on funds to the Local Authorities to distribute out as they see fit; there has been NO ring-fencing of this money though. All current WILG recipients are to be moved to this news system by March 2019 as things stand. We strongly oppose this for various reasons…
There are only 1,500 recipients of WILG. In terms of the overall budget, this is not a significant amount, yet the overall consequences of these changes can potentially have life-changing affects: serious life-changing affects.
Now, recipients, many of whom are in no position to do so, will become more responsible for sorting out their own caring needs, employing people etc., with no guarantee of how much funding is available. It will be inconsistent throughout Wales, through various Local Authorities.
The key point is that a Government/Local Authority has a responsibility to its citizens. While we appreciate and thank the Welsh Government for the £27 million put in to aid the cross-over and implementation of WILG, there is a HUGE difference between doing enough for someone to ‘survive’ and then doing enough for someone to actually ‘live’. We fear, that while we appreciate cuts are being passed on to the Assembly, and then Local Authorities from an Ideologically driven pro-austerity Conservative Government in Westminster, the consequences in the change of policy, in practice, will cause enormous upheaval and inevitable problems for citizens already having to deal with so much. Put simply, though we don’t claim these things are the intent of the authorities at all, the practice will just not be fair; whichever way you look at it.
This campaign is so important because we must, surely, pride ourselves on doing what is best for our fellow citizens. Their health and well-being, especially in light of who we are talking about here, must be preserved, defended and it must be made clear that this change is not necessary. We implore the AM responsible for this decision now, Huw Irranca-Davies, to listen to the huge numbers of people who passionately feel the same as we do.
We have had such a wide range of people who support this campaign, and who have said similar things to us: from the legendary film maker Ken Loach, to English MPs like the brilliant Chris Williamson, and Welsh MPs and AMs, Unions, the entirety of Welsh Labour Grassroots, Constituency Labour Parties, other political parties etc. All speaking up against this unnecessary change to severely disabled people’s lives.
Please join our campaign, please contact your AM, MP, local council etc. Please help us to change something that is both unnecessary and potentially significantly, negatively, life-changing. We call upon the Welsh Government to listen and act immediately, by reversing this decision immediately. It is not needed and it is most certainly not wanted. We think that were they to do so, the Welsh Government would be publicly applauded, and lauded, for their action; there would be massive respect and thanks shown.
PLEASE GET INVOLVED! JOIN US ON FEBRUARY 3RD AT SET THE BAR, WREXHAM FOR OUR COMMUNITY DAY. PLEASE EMAIL/CONTACT YOUR AM, MP & LOCAL AUTHORITIES. PLEASE CONTACT US VIA EMAILING THE CAMPAIGN LEADER, AND WILG RECIPIENT, NATHAN LEE DAVIES: firstname.lastname@example.org, Via the Facebook Page (Search ‘Save The Welsh Independent Living Grant’ SWILG) or the website: https://swilg.wordpress.com/