Independent Living Fund reopens for new applicants

Budget provides continued investment in social care.

The Independent Living Fund, which supports disabled people, is to reopen to new applicants after receiving £9 million investment as part of the 2024-25 Scottish Budget.

The funding forms part of the £19.5 billion budget for NHS recovery, health and social care and will support around 1,000 new applicants.

The initiative was closed to new applicants by the UK Government in 2010, with payments to the 3,000 existing recipients taken over by the Scottish Government in 2015. Scottish Ministers committed to reopening the fund in September as part of the Programme for Government.

The health and social care budget also includes £13.2 billion for frontline NHS Boards – a real terms uplift, with additional investment of more than half a billion pounds. Funding for social care next year will be over £1 billion higher than in 2021-22. The health increase is more than the total block grant consequentials announced in the autumn statement which means that resource funding for health and social care has more than doubled since 2006-07.

On his visit to Independent Living Fund Scotland in Livingston today, Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care Michael Matheson said:

“I’m pleased that we will be able to help more disabled people in Scotland to lead full and independent lives as part of our continued support for social care services.

“We are investing in the development of the National Care Service so that everyone has access to consistently high-quality social care, whenever they need it. This will help to remove barriers, tackle inequalities and allow people choice – as well as easing the pressure on Scotland’s NHS and continuing the integration of community health and social care support.

“This also builds on our other commitments in this sector including an £840 million increase in funding for social care over the life of the Parliament and an additional £230 million to support a pay uplift for social care workers to a minimum of £12 an hour.  

“The Budget provides funding of more than £19.5 billion – protecting health and social care delivery in the face of unprecedented fiscal pressure. However, despite this investment, hard choices along with greater efficiencies and savings will need to be made. This is because the Scotland’s healthcare system is under extreme pressure from the ongoing impacts of Covid, Brexit, inflation and UK Government spending decisions.”

Executive Officer of the Independent Living Fund Scotland Peter Scott OBE said:

“Following yesterday’s budget announcement of an additional £9m investment into ILF Scotland in the coming year, we welcome the opportunity to expand the work of our organisation and assist up to 1,000 more disabled people. Whilst we feel privileged to have the opportunity to re-open the Fund to new applicants, we do not underestimate the level of responsibility that accompanies it.

“We are very grateful to the disabled people, their organisations and other key stakeholders for lending their expertise and supporting us with the co-production of the re-opening of the Fund, work which is already well under way.”


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