The Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care Michael Matheson MSP visited the Independent Living Fund (ILF) Scotland offices in Livingston.
Mr Matheson met with ILF Scotland’s CEO Peter Scott OBE, and Anne-Marie Monaghan, Chair of ILF Scotland’s Board of Directors.
Mr Matheson spent time chatting with a number of frontline staff who will help deliver the re-opened ILF in Scotland.
In September 2023, First Minister Humza Yousaf announced in his first Programme for Government that the fund would re-open on a phased basis, with an initial £9 million in the financial year 2024-25 to support up to 1,000 additional disabled people.
Mr Matheson commented: “I’ve been really impressed by the way in which ILF Scotland have been working in a co-production basis to look at how they can shape that fund going forward as it opens up in the next financial year.
“And there’s a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes to make sure that it works effectively, and I’ve got absolutely no doubt that the staff will deliver an excellent outcome as we put this new investment into the ILF fund here in Scotland.”
Peter Scott said: “During Mr Matheson’s visit to our Livingston offices, we learned that it was in fact him, as Minister for Public Health in 2014, who took the decision to create ILF Scotland in the first place.
“This decision not only secured the on-going provision of ILF awards to almost 3,000 disabled people in Scotland and 600 in Northern Ireland who transferred to ILF Scotland from ILF UK, but it led to the creation of the ILF Transition Fund, which has to date provided 8,500 life-changing grants to disabled young people.
“Since 2015, ILF Scotland has provided more than £450 million of funding directly to some of our most disabled citizens.
“We would like to retrospectively thank Mr Matheson for his intervention in 2014, without which we would not be re-opening the Fund to new applicants this year.
“Whilst we feel privileged to have the opportunity to re-open the Fund to new applicants, we do not underestimate the level of responsibility that accompanies it.
“We are very grateful to the disabled people, their organisations and other key stakeholders for lending their expertise and supporting us with the co-production of the re-opening of the Fund, work which is already well under way.”