Defend the Independent Living Fund

We have received the following message from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

Dear Colleagues,

Following the disappointing ruling by the High Court regarding the Independent Living Fund please find attached the press release from DPAC giving an upbeat message that disabled people will not be beaten and the campaign will continue.

DPAC are currently encouraging activists to organise #SaveILF vigils outside town halls and invite your local politicians and press along. More and more councils are coming out and saying that if the ILF closes and funding is devolved to local authorities that they will ring fence for existing ILF recipients any money they are given from central government as part of the closure.

This will mitigate against the loss of independent living for those individuals which is an inevitable consequence of the government proposals. If your council has come out and committed to ring fence then use this as a chance to congratulate them – if they haven’t as a chance to mount pressure.
Get involved on-line and through social media to get the message out loud and clear: disabled people are here to stay.

Please find below a link to a TUC campaign film and a campaign briefing. You can join the campaign face book page at the following link

https://www.facebook.com/SAVETHEILF

The press release is set out below:

This morning after weeks of anxious waiting, disabled people and our supporters learned that the high court has found against the latest legal challenge against the government’s decision to close the Independent Living Fund . Disabled campaigners vow to continue the fight in every way that we can.

 Full judgment

The campaign to save the Independent Living Fund has been one of the most high profile among the many battles disabled people are currently fighting against current government policy that is detrimentally impacting on disabled people, with disabled activists occupying Westminster Abbey gardens over the summer.

 Occupy protest

In November last year the Court of Appeal quashed the government’s decision to close the ILF with the Court of Appeal judges unanimous in their view that the closure of the fund would have an ‘inevitable and considerable adverse effect which the closure of the fund will have, particularly on those who will as a consequence lose the ability to live independently”

Court Of Appeal.

On 6th March this year the then Minister for Disabled People Mike Penning retook the decision and announced a new date of June 2015 for permanent closure of the Fund that provides essential support enabling disabled people with the highest support needs to live in the community when the alternative would be residential care

The future

In October a second legal challenge was heard in the high court brought by  disabled claimants claiming that the Minister had not considered any new information to properly assess the practical effect of closure on the particular needs of ILF users . The Department for Work and Pensions mounted a defence based on their assertion that the Minister had adequate information to realise that the independent living of the majority of ILF users will be significantly impacted by the closure of the fund.

Tracey Lazard, CEO of Inclusion London said: “The closure of the ILF effectively signals the end of the right to independent living for disabled people in the UK. Whilst never perfect the ILF represents a model of support that has enabled thousands of disabled people to enjoy meaningfully lives and to contribute to society as equal citizens. Since the closure of the Fund to new applicants in December 2010 we have seen disabled people left with their most basic needs unmet and unable to seek employment, to volunteer or go into education or simply even to leave the house.”

Linda Burnip, co-founder of the campaign Disabled people Against Cuts, said: “Regardless of this ruling, disabled people will not be pushed back into the margins of society, we will not go back into the institutions, our place is in the community alongside our family and friends and neighbours and we are fighting to stay”.

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