If you haven’t already asked your MP to visit you at home to tell them how important DLA is to you please try to speak to them or email before February 14th. You can find their contact details at www.parliament.uk or many have their own websites with details of their constituency telephone and email contact details there. Letters should be sent to your MP at House of Commons, London, SW1 0AA.

There are at the moment 2 very supportive EDMs concerning independent living which we should be asking our MPs to sign. However as many MPs are unable to sign up to EDMs since doing so may commit their parties financially and ministers/shadow ministers in particular are sometimes not allowed to sign EDMs also ask them to raise the issues on your behalf if they don’t feel able to sign the EDM itself. ( draft email/letter below)

Early Day Motion on the Disability Living Allowance Consultation . EDM 1332 tabled  by Hywel Williams MP (Arfon).

Early Day Motion 1231 to stop the closure of Independent Living Fund. (ILF)tabled by Katy Clark, MP

Please support EDM 1231 to stop the closure of ILF.
That this House notes with concern the Government’s announcement that the Independent Living Fund will be permanently closed to new applicants and completely phased out by the end of this Parliament; further notes that this will affect around 21,000 current recipients as well as those who would have applied to the fund in the future; acknowledges the fantastic assistance that the Independent Living Fund has provided severely disabled people to live independently; and calls on the Government to reconsider its decision, which will affect thousands of severely disabled people and will in the long term lead to greater financial costs as more people are placed in long term care.’

Dear Member of Parliament,

Please sign EDM’s 1231 and 1332 both of which support disabled people’s right to independent living. If you are unable to sign EDMs please let me know you intend to support the contents of the EDM and confirm you will write to the Government highlighting my concerns.

The closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) and the loss of funding will potentially put at risk 21,000 of the most severely disabled people around the country; disabled people who as a result may be unable to continue to live independently in the community. The existing fund is already failing to meet current demand against a restrictive criteria.

These are the very same people, disabled people with the highest support needs, that the coalition government says they are committed to supporting. However this along with a host of other policy decisions that adversely affect disabled people, would suggest that this is not the whole truth.

There is clearly no commitment to ensure that disabled people can continue to lead inclusive lives and to be treated as citizens. The result of the loss of funding to the ILF, and DLA together with the drastic reduction to entitlements to health and social care budgets will be in contradiction to disabled people’s rights under the UN Convention on Rights for People with Disabilities to live independently.

Any government should be ashamed of such decisions which in day to day terms can only push disabled people even further to the margins of society.

As your constituent I want you to please ask why the ILF is being scrapped, even before any consultation has taken place and why there seems to be little practical commitment to support disabled peoples’ equality and human rights by this government.
Yours sincerely,

(add your name)

“Your lives are too costly to fund” – that’s the message Disabled People have been told by the Coalition Government in the space of the last week.

Following the reform of DLA, which serves as nothing more than a tool to remove those deemed to have the lowest needs from the benefit bill, Disabled People have been left reeling after the Government announced they are to abolish the Independent Living Fund (ILF).

The Independent Living Fund which helps disabled people to live independently in the community is to be scrapped by 2015 to save £330 million. The other portion of the cost is – theoretically at least – met by Local Authorities.

However, despite Local Authority budgets being slashed, particularly surrounding the provision of care, there are no plans to cover the portion of payments currently paid by the ILF.

This leaves many disabled people faced with the prospect of returning to more costly residential care homes or long stay hospitals.

Following on from this there are savage cuts to legal aid funding and plans to end equality duties for central and local government departments.

It is clear that there is absolutely no commitment on the part of this government to maintain disabled people’s human rights despite last year’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The situation in some areas is currently dire, and fails to maintain the human rights Disabled People are entitled to expect met, for example disabled people unfortunate enough to live in Kensington and Chelsea are now being given incontinence pads and waterproof sheets instead of overnight care funding. In Birmingham the eligibility has been restricted to those classed “extra critical.”

Debbie Jolly one of the co-founders of DPAC said: “Disabled people have had every single support targeted for ‘reform’, cut or scrapped completely. DLA ‘reforms’ set out to cut 20% of claimants saving 17 million pounds. The Independent Living Fund allowing disabled people to stay in their homes: scrapped to save £330 million, many cuts are being applied to social ‘care’ in local authorities, housing tenure is being restricted to two years with additional cuts to housing benefit, Access to Work funds to help with additional aids in the workplace has been drastically reduced. The government while undermining every right that disabled people have achieved, say they support disabled people–it is impossible to see how.”

Ian Burnip, a 24-year-old ILF service user said: “I have relied on the ILF to enable me to go to university, obtain a BSc and an MA, and live independently in the community I choose. This has allowed me to develop and maintain key friendships with people from all walks of life, and live what society would deem a perfectly normal life. Without the financial support provided by the ILF I could not have done this.

I have made every effort to make myself employable, and contribute to enable the support to be provided to those who need it. If I can no longer fund the care I am entitled to receive, I do not know what I will do. The outlook for me is bleak. I will fight to stop this regressive cut, as I for one will not be forced to live in residential care. It is unfair, and it’s about time this Government realised Disabled People cannot and will not tolerate being exploited in this way.”

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) calls on the coalition ministers to meet with us and our members and explain how destroying the lives of disabled people can be ‘fair’ when billions of pounds in Corporate Tax remain unpaid.

DPAC have also requested an urgent meeting with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to discuss these issues

Eleanor Lisney, another co-founder of DPAC and a trustee of Council of Disabled People Warwickshire and Coventry remarks: “with the DLA changes and the forthcoming scrapping of the ILF, I do not see how the minister, Maria Miller, can still mention independent living and fairness. It seems obvious that she needs to meet more disabled people and understand the desperate and perilous conditions that these changes can be making to disabled people’s lives.”

Sasha Callaghan, a Past President of the University and College Union said: “This represents the most vicious attack on disabled people since the 1834 Poor Law and the University and College Union defies the Coalition to show us where the decision to abolish the ILF is in either party’s election manifesto. This savage assault cannot be justified and we call upon the Coalition to reverse this ill-thought out proposal.”

The Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller said: “Personal independence payments will maintain the key principles of DLA, providing cash support to help overcome the barriers which prevent disabled people from participating fully in everyday life, but it will be delivered in a fairer, more consistent and sustainable manner. It is only right that support should be targeted at those disabled people who face the greatest challenges to leading independent lives.”

Notes to Journalists/Newsdesk

Data from Family Resources Survey and the National Equalities Panel found that:
· 75% of disabled women and 70% of disabled men are already at the bottom end of Britain’s income distribution scale living in poverty.
· A tenth of disabled woman have incomes below £31 per week and a tenth of disabled men have incomes below £59 per week including earned income and benefits.

· Already 30% of disabled people live below the poverty line and 1 in 4 families with disabled children cannot afford heating

The Minister for Disabled People’s quote comes from the Disability Allowance reform Executive Summary ministerial foreward which can be found at
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/dla-reform-consultation-exec-summ.pdf

Contacts:

Linda Burnip 01926 842253

Sasha Callaghan 07505275581

Ian Burnip 0116 2704951

Ministers plan to stop paying out cash to help more than 21,000 severely disabled people live in their own homes.

They will unveil plans within days to phase out the Independent Living Fund by spring 2015.

Read more at the Mirror