Disabled people and campaigners blocked Whitehall today and lobbied MPs to protest at the government’s plans to close the Independent Living Fund in just six months’ time. Here are a few clips, including one of (another) copper telling protestors that if they didn’t move off the street, they’d be arrested:
As readers of this site will know, the ILF is a fund that disabled people with the highest support needs use to pay for the extra carer hours they need to live independent lives. The government plans to close the fund at the end of June this year (2015). Without that money, these disabled people face lives shut away in carehomes.
Nobody voted for that.
As I’ve said many times before, these protests to save the ILF from closure are vital – to everyone, disabled or not. Saving the ILF is not just about saving a pot of money. It’s about saving the idea that severely disabled people deserve to live – like everybody else. Councils can’t afford to meet the full care costs of this group of disabled people. Some councils have agreed to ringfence devolved funds, but nobody knows how long funds will be devolved or ringfenced for.
I’m already talking to disabled people who rely on council funding for care and have to go without eating or drinking for hours because they can’t get the carer hours that they need. There are six months left to save the ILF. The fight to save it will escalate. Everyone knows how things will end for ILF users if the ILF is closed. This government couldn’t care less, of course. This government is murderous. Thing is – nobody is too convinced that a Labour government will care much, either. Labour has had several years now to commit to keeping the ILF open. Here’s shadow minister for disabled people Kate Green being extremely equivocal about that. I took that film of her towards the end of 2014. This is life and death stuff, so at this very late stage, you’d hope for more than you see in that film.