Tag Archives: Independent Living Fund

Disabled Protesters Heading Back To DWP As Fight To Save Independent Living Heats Up

dwp-protest2

A previous protest outside the DWP in protest at the closure of the ILF

The fight to save the Independent Living Fund (ILF) is heating up with a fresh court challenge to this needless cut which could lead to some disabled people being institutionalised to save money.

A judicial review has been launched against the closure whilst protest is also hitting the streets with an Independence Day Party starting outside the DWP on July 4th.

The ILF provides vital support for 18,000 severely disabled people and is used to top up to local authority funding for people with particularly high support needs.  Should the fund be closed then people will be dependent on already cash-strapped local councils leaving them little control over their care and support packages.  There are very real fears that this could lead to disabled people being placed in institutions, or trapped in their own homes with no options for living independently.  Combined with local authority cuts already taking place, such as the removal of taxi-card schemes and care funding being slashed, the result  of closing the ILF will be devastating.

A legal challenge against the closure has already been successful when the Appeal Court ruled the the move was illegal in November last year.  This was down to a ruling that the then Minster for Murdering Disabled People Esther McVey hadn’t bothered to learn the facts about the impact of closing the ILF and therefore was unable to make an adequate assessment of the consequences.  McVey was eventually moved and put in charge of workfare, however new minister Mike Penning spitefully announced in Spring that the closure was now back on due to them filling out a form properly or something.

According to Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) the DWP has since admitted that “in considering the proposal once again it had not consulted with any organisations or individuals outside of Government. It had not gathered any additional information from local authorities or other sources about what level or type of support former ILF users would receive from social services once the ILF element was removed and how many people would be likely to go into residential care or lose their ability to work or study.”

Therefore the fresh legal challenge will be along the same lines as the first.

A nationwide day of action for independent living has also been called for July 4th.  In London an Independent Living Tea Party is being held which promises fun. games, entertainment, and of course civil disobedience.  The event will begin at 2pm outside the DWP, Caxton House, Tothill Street SW1.

Campaigners have called for action around the UK, to find out more visit: http://dpac.uk.net/2014/06/july-4th-our-independent-living-day-party-and-picnic-london-and-around-the-country/

There will also be a Twitter Party using the Hashtag #IL4JULY.  Please share, tweet, blog and help spread the word about all events.

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Disabled Protesters Blockade The DWP In Fury At The Closure Of The Independent Living Fund

dwp-protest2Up to 100 disabled people and supporters held a noisy protest outside the Department of Work and Pensions yesterday which ended in a spontaneous blockade of all four entrances into the building.

The protest was held after Minister for Murdering Disabled People Mike Penning said the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) would still go ahead despite a court decision last year.  The closure of the fund, which allows the most severely disabled people to lead independent lives, had been halted when the Court of Appeal ruled that the Government had acted unlawfully by not paying ‘due regard’ to the rights of disabled people under the Equality Act.

Campaigners had hoped that this would mean the end of this spiteful and nasty move which will lead to some disabled people having no choice but to live in institutions.  Sadly Mike Penning announced last month that the Government intended to press ahead with the closure of the ILF, and this time do it legally.

Yesterday’s demonstration, which was called by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), began with songs and speeches outside the main entrance of the DWP after campaigners ignored the fenced off pen where the police presumably hoped the protest would be held.  Many speakers demanded that Mike Penning, or one of his representatives, should come out of the building and face some of the people whose lives will be destroyed by closing the ILF.  No-one came, and at one point the DWP even refused to accept a letter of protest showing how much the department really cares about ‘involving disabled people’ in decision making.

As anger grew at this cowardly snub, several disabled people made their way round to the side of the building where DWP officials had been sneaking in and out through a side-door.  Bungling G4S security staff were unable to stop protesters blocking this entrance and when they found another way to let people in and out of the building a part of the crowd broke off and gathered outside that door as well.

Acting alongside a small police presence, security staff decided that no-one should leave the building through this exit either .  As 5pm came and went, this meant hundreds of DWP employees had some much needed time to reflect on the harsh realities of their nine to five existence.  Eventually police re-enforcements arrived and staff were  let out of the front door accompanied by songs, shouts and occasional caustic barracking.  Not one of the people leaving the building were prepared to admit that they worked for the Office for Disability Issues based inside, or even that they had met Mike Penning –  who seems as unpopular at the DWP as he is everywhere else.

Some DWP staff whinged about not being able to go home on time, claiming current policies were nothing to do with them, they just carried them out on behalf of Penning and Iain Duncan Smith.  As one protester pointed out however, a few minutes trapped in their office is nothing compared to the lifetime disabled people face being trapped in their homes, or even institutions, due to the scrapping of the Independent Living Fund.

For more on the campaign to save the Independent Living Fund, and to get involved visit Disabled People Against Cuts’ website or follow them on twitter @Dis_PPL_Protest

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Save The Independent Living Fund – May 12th

DPAC-Logovia Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

Save the Independent Living Fund
“Nursing Homes Stink, They’re Worse than You Think.
We’d Rather Go to Jail Than Die in a Nursing Home”

Join us to protest against the closure of ILF on Monday, May 12th 3pm-5pm outside DWP head quarters, Caxton House, Tothill Street, SW1H 9WA.

Nearest accessible tube –Westminster.

Click for Face Book Event

Bring things to make lots of noise. We have asked Mike Penning Minister for disabled people to join us but in case he doesn’t we need to make sure he knows we’re there.

More info at: http://dpac.uk.net/2014/05/join-the-save-ilf-protest-monday-may-12th-london-dwp/

Please help spread the word and tweet on the day in support using hashtag #SaveILF.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Vigil to Save Independent Living Fund October 14th

independent-living-fund-vigilvia Disabled People Against Cuts

SAVE THE INDEPENDENT LIVING FUND!

Monday October 14th 2013

Vigil and press call – from 12.30pm – outside front entrance Royal Courts of Justice, the Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Join us in support of disabled claimants challenging the government’s consultation on the closure of the Independent Living fund.

On Monday 14th October the Court of Appeal will be asked to over-turn the decision of the High Court handed down in April that found that the consultation had been lawful and the Department for Work and Pensions had met the Public Sector Equality Duty.

The ILF was set up in 1988 to support disabled people with the highest levels of support need to live in the community. Since then it has helped thousands to live active and full lives.

The government decision to close the Independent Living Fund and instead devolve responsibility to local authorities follows a consultation that disabled people claim is unlawful.

Whereas support received through the ILF has transformed thousands of lives, local authorities are not able to provide the same level or range of support through their current systems. With central funding to local authorities being cut this can only get worse. Disabled people fear that the alternative will bee of being sent against their wishes to live in institutions or surviving trapped in their own homes.

The closure of the Independent Living Fund has major significance for disabled people’s equality and our position within society. Disabled people fought for decades for our right to live in the community independently and with choice and control. The closure of the Fund signifies an end to the right to independent living.

Join us to show support and solidarity to those disabled people taking the appeal on an issue that is importance to everyone who cares about social justice and the rights of disabled people to live independently, equally and with dignity.

Supporters will gather outside the courts at 9.45am and then try to get into the court room. By lunch time we will know if the appeal has been granted, in which case it will be heard over the Monday and Tuesday 15th, or if it has been turned down. Whatever the decision we will hold our vigil and press call at 12.30pm outside the courts in support of the claimants and in defense of the Independent Living fund.

You can listen to how this vicious attack will affect disabled people at these links:

http://www.dpac.uk.net/2013/02/a-nasty-cut-people-affected-by-the-closure-of-the-independent-l5142/

For more information about the vigil contact: mail@dpac.uk.net

Travel: the tube stations around the Royal Courts are not accessible (nearest accessible tubes are Westminster and LondonBridge and both are a bus journey away).

Please check www.tfl.gov.uk for more travel information 

Accessible toilets around the royal courts:

–         There is an accessible toilet outside Embankment tube station and inside Charing Cross station.

–         There are toilets opposite the Royal Courts but these are not accessible

–         There are also accessible toilets inside the Royal Courts themselves – see page 10 of this booklet: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/courts/rcj/facilities-and-access/Facilitiesservicesleaflet2011.pdf

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How the Big Disability Charities Let Down Disabled People … again

DAN-rights-not-charityAn important recent post on Disabled People Against Cuts’ (DPAC) website reveals how the big disability charities once again let down the very people they claim to support by being indifferent at best to the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF).

As the name suggests, the fund is designed to support the most severely disabled people in living independent lives.  In a chilling sign of what was to come, less than two months after this Government weren’t elected it was closed to new applications.  Funding is now being devolved to local councils, who will have no legal duty to maintain the support offered under the scheme.  All ILF claims are planned to end by 2015.

The closure of the fund has met fierce opposition from grassroots campaigners such as Disabled People Against Cuts and Black Triangle.  Documents recently revealed in a high court appeal against the fund’s closure reveal it has been met by little more than apathy from the major disability organisations.

The documents show that the DWP recognise “that upon reassessment by LA’s (Local Authorities) most users are likely to see some reduction in the current funding levels, and there are a group of users with low care needs that may not be eligible for local authority support under current needs thresholds in most LA’s.’”

Despite this – according to the DWP at least – Mencap (highest paid earner £190,000 pa*), The MS Society, and Scope (highest paid earner £140,000) all supported the closure of the scheme, although Scope’s support was weak and they showed ‘concern’.  RNIB (highest paid earner £140,000) disagreed with the closure of the fund, but this disagreement was summed up as ‘weak concern’ by the DWP.  Only Disability Wales and Inclusion Scotland are mentioned as strongly disagreeing with the closure.

Charities will no doubt argue with the DWP’s assessment of their indifference to disabled people’s lives, however for once it seems the department may be telling the truth (stop laughing).  The documents point out:  “none of the largest national disability organisations requested ministerial meetings and many did not submit responses to the consultation. While we have had an increasing number of letters from MPs on users’ behalf, the proposal to close the fund has received almost no attention in the mainstream media.”

DPAC themselves have requested several meetings with ministers over the closure of the fund.  All requests were ignored.

* Where The Workfare Money Goes – Charity Rich List Released

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Protesters Gather at the Courts to Save the Independent Living Fund

IMG00214-20130313-1305Around 70 people gathered at a well attended protest outside the Royal Court of Justice today to demand a halt to the close of the Independent Living Fund (ILF).

The ILF is used to support the most severely disabled people live independent lives.  In what the Government claim is reform and everyone else knows means cuts, funding will be devolved to local councils. This funding will not be ring-fenced meaning that the money may well be spent plugging the gap in Town Hall budgets due to the already savage cuts.

Campaigners warn that disabled people could be forced back into institutions due to the closure of the fund as councils seek to cut costs..

Today’s protest, which saw speakers from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Inclusion London and the PCS Union, came as six people challenged the closure of the fund in the high court.  The case, which is ongoing, will argue that the closure of the fund will breach the United Nations Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities which provides the right to independent living and the right to an adequate standard of living and protection.

Lawyers will argue that the consultation into the closure of the fund was illegal due to a failure to provide adequate information about the changes.  The court will also hear that there has not been an adequate assessment of the impact of the closure of the ILF on disabled people’s ability to live and work independently.

For more information about the closure of the ILF and the personal testimonies of those affected visit: http://www.dpac.uk.net/blog/

Defend Independent Living: Save the Independent Living Fund

crip-catchers-smallThe Independent Living Fund was established as a ring-fenced sum of money which could be accessed by severely disabled people who often need expensive 24 hour care.

This funding has made it possible for people to remain in their homes rather than in institutions.  In 2010 the fund was closed to new applicants.  Last year the Government decided to close down the fund completely and make local Councils responsible for administering funding.

Local authorities will not have to ring fence any money from Central Government for this kind of support meaning they cash strapped councils may simply divert the money elsewhere.  With local authorities already buckling under harsh cuts, soaring homelessness and an upcoming Council Tax crisis, many may choose to place some disabled people back in (no doubt privately run) care homes in an attempt to cut costs.

As spokesperson for Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC),  Linda Burnip has said, the closure of the fund:  “in terms of independent living, is the single most regressive action the Condems could have taken.”

Support is needed urgently to save this vital funding which allows the most severely disabled people to stay in their homes and lead independent lives.

Please visit, share and tweet the latest information from DPAC on how you can help:  http://www.dpac.uk.net/2013/02/defend-independent-living-save-the-independent-living-fund/

Those in London join the vigil to save the Independent Living Fund on March 13th.

Meet outside the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand on 13th March at 12.30pm.  More details on DPAC at: http://www.dpac.uk.net/2013/02/vigil-to-save-ilf/

Pic from the highly recommended Crippen Cartoons.

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