Learning Disability Wales has welcomed this week’s announcement by Welsh Government that it will provide “new support for previous recipients of the Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG),” following significant representations by the #SaveWILG campaign.
On Tuesday, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan, announced changes to the way care is delivered for people previously in receipt of WILG to ensure they get the support to live independent lives. Welsh Government confirmed that “an independent social work assessment will be offered to all former Independent Living Fund (ILF) recipients who are unhappy with their new care and support package and would like a second opinion.”
Additional funding to local authorities for the cost of the workers to carry out these independent assessments will be provided by Welsh Government, including any additional care hours that may result from the assessments. The independent assessments will be consistent with people’s agreed wellbeing outcome and acknowledge the historical entitlement of former ILF recipients.
Nathan Lee Davies, who has led the Save WILG campaign said that he was delighted by the breakthrough, and while “there is still some work to be done with Welsh Labour on the new arrangements to support disabled people to live independently,” he is “confident that this work will be carried out constructively.”
Martyn Jones, Chief Executive of Learning Disability Wales welcomed Julie Morgan’s announcement: “Learning Disability Wales has been supportive of Nathan Lee Davies as he has led the Save the WILG Campaign, and his passion and tenacity has now clearly achieved a great result. We welcome this announcement by the Deputy Minister as it indicates a commitment on the part of Welsh Government to meaningfully supporting independent living. Julie Morgan’s new approach and the accompanying resources will make a positive change in the lives of those who have been adversely impacted by the changes to the Welsh Independent Living Grant and we look forward to efficient and timely implementation.”
In her statement announcing the new approach, Julie Morgan said: “While the majority of former ILF recipients are receiving the same or more care as they were previously, a significant number have experienced a reduction in hours of support. There is also considerable variation in the reductions in support.
“I have therefore written to local government leaders to request a pause of the transition with immediate effect in order to bring in the revised arrangements. This is a significant change of approach that ensures that the needs of former WILG recipients will be fully met, and that resources are no barrier to a full package of care and support.
“I would like to thank Nathan Davies and his colleagues in the Save the WILG Campaign for the representations they have made to Welsh Government on this matter.”