§ 12. Mr. McFall
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he last had discussions with voluntary bodies on the future of the independent living fund.
§ Mr. McFall
The Government set up the independent living fund as a knee-jerk response to repressive social security legislation in 1987. There will be no future for disabled people after 1992, and the Minister knows that. I have received representations from many disabled people. They know that the budget is cash limited instead of being dependent on need. When will the Minister have a decent answer for disabled people, so that they will have a future, just like able-bodied people in our society?
§ Mr. Scott
I should have expected a harangue rather than a proper question about the future of the independent living fund. As the hon. Gentleman knows, between its inception and this financial year, we have increased expenditure on the fund tenfold to meet the needs of severely disabled people. We shall listen carefully to the arguments when we debate Lords amendments to the Disability Living Allowance and Disability Working Allowance Bill tomorrow, and we look forward to responding then.
§ Mr. Hannam
Will my right hon. Friend accept the congratulations of disabled people and of those who are interested in their welfare on the establishment of the fund and on the huge tenfold increase in Government funding? Does he accept that voluntary organisations are concerned about the future of special funding for the 7,000 or 8,000 severely disabled people who are helped by the fund because after 1993 responsibility is likely to pass to local authorities? Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that funds will be available from local authorities when that change takes place?
§ Mr. Scott
As I said to the hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall), we shall have an extended opportunity tomorrow to consider that matter when we discuss Lords amendments to the Disability Living Allowance and Disability Working Allowance Bill. I look forward to responding more fully then. I recognise the importance of ensuring that, after 1993, proper arrangements are made to cope with the needs of severely disabled people.
§ Mr. Frank Field
Can the Government name a single organisation that supports the proposal to wind up the fund in 1993?
§ Mr. Scott
In making that point, the hon. Gentleman prejudges the arrangements that will be made for either existing or new cases. The vast majority —indeed, the totality —of those who represent disabled people are anxious that proper arrangements are made after 1993 to ensure that the needs of disabled people are properly taken into account.