Condemn government set to strip disabled people of basic human rights

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Condemn government set to strip disabled people of basic human rights

Over 60 Deaf and disabled people’s organisations have signed a letter raising serious concerns about the permanent closure of the Independent Living Fund in 2015. The letter is also supported by over 250 individual disabled people, doctors and academics as well as parliamentarians.

08/02/2012

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) have issued the press release below and the letter is available on left/below. 

If you wish to support the letter there is a photo opportunity February 13th assembling from 2pm, outside DWP offices, Caxton House, 6-12 Tothill Street, SW1H 9DA.

DPAC press release:
The government’s ill-thought through plans to scrap the Independent Living Fund (ILF) from 2015 will not only wreck disabled people’s lives but potentially push them into residential institutions rather than being able to live in the community. This is in spite of these rights being guaranteed by the ratification of a United Nations Convention.

The planned changes will cost taxpayers millions of pounds more every year by forcing disabled people back into institutions, and by creating greater ill-health leading to a greater drain on the NHS all at public cost.

The ILF supports independent living for some 20,000 disabled people with the highest support needs across the UK, enabling real choice and control over how they live their lives and creating employment. It contributes to UK tax gains and public savings.

Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller, announced the permanent closure of the ILF to new applications in December 2010.  Her statement then, and her recent statement of December 2011, point to the permanent closure of the ILF by 2015. 

A Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) led campaign is being launched on February 13th  when Jamie Bolling Executive Director of European Network for Independent Living (ENIL) will be flying in from Sweden to support UK campaigners. Jamie says ‘Cuts across Europe must stop! They are breaches of human rights and are taking the lives of disabled people. Without the ILF there will be no choice for disabled people and choice is a right.’

Campaigners plan to deliver a letter signed by over 70 of the country’s major user-led disabled people’s organisations as well as around 400 individual disabled people and others to Maria Miller. The letter calls for the continuation after 2015 of a nationally transportable, ring-fenced funding stream to meet the additional costs of care and support for those with the highest needs.

Anne Novis who was awarded an MBE for her work on disability hate crimes said ‘As an ILF user I have been in fear and anxiety for over a year wondering how I will manage to have any life after the ILF closes down. I have sought information, something that would reassure me my voice and that of the thousands of ILF users would be heard, but we have had nothing. With all the other threats and cuts in care support and welfare those most in need , as we are defined by this government, have absolutely no reassurance that our needs will be met because we see and hear each day of another disabled person kill themselves, be penalised, demonized and impoverished simply for being disabled.’

Another fund user said ‘The support from the ILF has made the difference from having very basic support to having a life. It has played an immeasurably positive role in the lives of disabled people with significant support needs and their families.’

The campaign is also supported by Mark Serwotka general secretary of the PCS union.

In adding his signature, Serwotka said: ‘This government's treatment of disabled people reveals the true face of the Tories, who are seeking to make the most disadvantaged and least culpable pay the highest price for economic problems caused by the failures of a financial and political elite’.

Recent exposure of ministers' attempts to mislead parliament about the extent of opposition to their cruel and unnecessary cuts shows they fear the excellent campaigns being run by Disabled People Against Cuts and others, which we support fully."

Ends


Press contacts
DPAC press office – 01926 842253, mobile and on the day 0771 492 7533 or mail@dpac.uk.net
HAFCAC 07899 752877

Notes to editors
ILF allows ‘severely’ disabled people to live in the community, to go to university and in many cases to work and pay taxes. The Personal Assistants employed through this funding also pay taxes and contribute economically.

We believe that Maria Miller is wrong to say this fund is financially unsustainable as the ILF saves the state on average £37,888 per annum per person eligible for such funding. (the difference between the average ILF payment and cost of residential care at 2010 prices)

The cost to the state of scrapping ILF to save a mere £330 million will be a minimum of paying £757,760,000 * a year in residential care costs. That is more than double the current cost but this figure still excludes the loss of tax revenue as disabled people will no longer be able to work or employ PAs. It also excludes the extra costs which are likely to be generated for the NHS as hugely increased numbers of disabled people are likely to be denied overnight care and left instead with only incontinence pads, or as support  deteriorates lead to more health problems.

Most importantly for those disabled people who will lose this financial support they will lose any independence and choice in their lives. For those with complex support needs which is the case for those in receipt of ILF funding the cost of residential care according to the Scottish government’s estimate is £72,000 per annum.

*20,000 ILF users multiplied by the extra cost of residential care.

For more information go to:
DPAC  www.dpac.uk.net
Report by Scottish government www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Health/care

Download Independent fund letter

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