Ramsey welcomes extension of Independent Living Fund

Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey. (2307C39a)
Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey. (2307C39a)

SDLP Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey has welcomed an announcement from the Health Minister that a successor body will be formed to make payments to recipients of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Work and Pensions announced in 2010 the ILF would end and that funding for existing users would come to a close in June 2015.

Mr Ramsey said: “The SDLP and Mencap led the campaign to lobby former Health Ministers to maintain the ILF in Northern Ireland. This is an absolutely vital fund that enables over 600 people here to live independently in adapted homes in the community and the loss of it would have been devastating.

“With the prospect of five years of austerity under the new government, this will be a cause of great relief for a number of disabled people in the North. It is vital that we send a strong message to London: hands off our Welfare system.

“This is an issue I feel very strongly about and which I raised in the Assembly during the previous debates on Welfare Reform. SDLP MPs will continue to fight for the reinstatement of this important fund in England and Wales.”