The video below features Mary Laver, who I talked with when I was in Newcastle last week.
Mary was an Olympic torchbearer and volunteer last year.
She is also an Independent Living Fund recipient. She has severe rheumatoid arthritis and is unable to move on her own.
The ILF was set up in 1988 as a stand-alone fund to which people with severe disabilities could apply for money for added carer hours. That extra money meant that people could afford to pay carers for the help that they needed – round-the-clock, in some cases – to live independent lives. At the end of last year, though, the government decided to close the Independent Living Fund and devolve it to councils – a vile decision which will leave people with severe mobility impairments unable to pay for the high levels of care that they need to live independent lives in their own homes.
As Mary says – without the extra funding for care that the ILF pays for, she’ll be left sitting alone for hours in her house, in her own urine. I have a Guardian story which features other ILF recipients talking about their fight against this cut. Disabled People Against Cuts has been publishing testimonies with other people with severe disabilities who are facing this appalling prospect of lives without the levels of care that they need. A group of ILF recipients challenged the closure decision in court earlier in March. DPAC has a good summary of responses to the DWP’s “consultation” exercise on the closure here. It’s extremely clear that already-cashstrapped councils will not be able to fund the care hours people need.
The ILF closure decision is repulsive. I had a DWP press officer yelling in my ear about this, insisting that the closure wasn’t a cut – but it’s a cut all right. It’s a bloody cut. This DPAC summary of consultation responses and reports will tell you all you need to know about that. Also – I’ll be following up with people as things unfold, so we’ll see how things look as that happens. The DWP will be approached for further exchanges.
I’ve got more video interviews to add and should have those done soon.