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Individualized Budgets Are Cornerstone Of Blair Disabilities Benefit Reform Plan
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 20, 2005

LONDON, ENGLAND--Personalized budgets for people with disabilities are at the center of Prime Minister Tony Blair's plan to simplify the government disability benefit system, published Thursday.

The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit published the proposal, entitled "Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People", in an effort to reform the "incapacity benefit" system for just over 3 million people with disabilities.

"Too many services are organised to suit providers rather than being personalised around the needs of disabled people," Blair explained.

"This report therefore sets out an ambitious vision for improving the life chances of disabled people so that by 2025 disabled people have full opportunities and choices to improve their quality of life and be respected and included as equal members of society."

The 216-page plan calls for an integrated budget for each person to cover costs of community care, equipment, independent living, home modifications, and employment supports. It would give individuals with disabilities control over individualized budgets, so they can adjust their own services -- or cash -- as their life situations change.

It would first be tried with pilot projects through local council governments.

The ideas in the report are expected to give the Labour party its direction for its next term.

"This report is the next step which sets out a radical vision for delivering choices and opportunities for disabled people over the next 20 years," said Minister for Disabled People Maria Eagle in a press statement. "It sets out a full programme of action to support disabled people in leading independent lives.

"This will lead to significantly greater participation and inclusion of disabled people in the economy and in society," she said.

Press release: "Prime Minister's Strategy Unit report to transform the life chances of disabled people" (Prime Minister's Strategy Unit)
Report: "Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People" (Prime Minister's Strategy Unit)
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