This fund helps 19,000 people with severe disabilities in the UK to live independent lives in the community. The Government announced in December 2012 that the fund would be scrapped in 2015. Five people with disabilities took a case against the Government in April but the High Court in London ruled in favour of the Government. The Court of Appeal has overturned that ruling.
Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “This Court of Appeal ruling is a tremendous victory for people with disabilities. I have raised this issue at the Assembly Health Committee and I know that many claimants in Northern Ireland have been worried about the decision to scrap this fund.
“This ruling has shown that the Government were just interested in saving money rather than working in the best interests of those with a disability.
“The loss of this fund could result in many recipients being forced into some form of residential care instead of being able to live independent lives in the community.
“While the Government has the option to appeal this ruling, they did reveal in this case that their decision to close the Independent Living Fund could be reversed. I hope they will decide to keep this fund open. It is a vital lifeline for many people to continue to be productive members of our society.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the local campaigners who have been at the forefront of efforts in Northern Ireland to keep this fund open.”