6 September 2016
* Jonathan Bartley: “It is right that John McDonnell has promised to press Labour councils to ring fence former ILF money – but this should have happened a year ago when the ILF was closed.”
Jonathan Bartley, new co-leader of the Green Party, today won a public promise from shadow chancellor John McDonnell to write to all Labour run councils urging them to play their part in ending the postcode lottery facing disabled people.
McDonnell made the commitment to Bartley at the launch of a report by Inclusion London  on the impact of the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF).
The shadow chancellor promised to contact Labour councils immediately urging them to ring fence former ILF money, which has been given to local authorities since the ILF was closed in June last year.
The report by Inclusion London found many local authorities, both Labour and Conservative, had not ring fenced the money, leaving people with high level support needs facing a “dramatic postcode lottery”.
Bartley, who co-leads the Green Party so he can support his 14-year-old disabled son Samuel, said:
“The ILF supported disabled people with some of the highest needs, and its closure has left them facing terrible fear, and insecurity. Today I heard story after story about how former ILF recipients have been in entirely unacceptable conditions and prisoners in their own home.
“It is right that John McDonnell has promised to press Labour councils to ring fence former ILF money – but this should have happened a year ago when the ILF was closed.
“There must be a strong opposition to the Conservative Government and its damaging policies if we are to protect the independence of disabled people.
“Once again it is the Green Party providing that opposition.”
The Green Party pledged to retain the ILF in its 2015 General Election manifesto.
Ahead of the launch of the Inclusion London report Bartley said :
“Many of the issues raised by the report resonate with my own experience of supporting my disabled son.
“I understand the fear and uncertainty that the ILF has clearly created. I understand, too, how the withdrawal of support, which would have gone some way to removing some of the barriers that disabled people face, is devastating.”