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P2134658  DPAC DWP (Lo Res) | by pete riches
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P2134658 DPAC DWP (Lo Res)

DPAC activists deliver protest letter to Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller (MP) : London 13.02.2012


Campaigners from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition Against Community Care Cuts (HAFCAC) and the Right to Work Campaign (RtWC) protested outside the Department for Work and Pensions against the government's decision to abolish the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in 2015.


New applications to this critical funding resource for the most vulnerable people with severe disabilities was stopped in 2010. The protesters are very concerned that this has all been set in motion without any proper consultation with disabled users, and neither has there been an equality impact assessment of the effects ending the ILF will have on people living with disabilities. This, claim the protesters, violates articles 4, 17 and 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which the United Kingdom is a co-signatory.


Article 19 [Living independently and being included in the community"] states that "Disabled people have a right to live in the community, with the support they need and can make choices other people do". It also states that they should be included in things that other people do, and all countries signed up to the Convention must: "Make sure that disabled people get the help they need to live in the community; this means things like getting personal assistance."


In addition, the United Nations International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) states that "Disabled People have the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and have the right to an adequate standard of living".


As such, the UK has a duty to work progressively, to the maximum extent of its available resources, to deliver these rights, even in a period of economic downturn.


David Cameron's government, however, claims chillingly that funding disabled people is "unsustainable", yet we see billions of pounds in corporate taxes remaining uncollected by huge corporations and individuals who have wined and dined government officials and ministers, and we have witnessed the squandering of further billions of pounds by this government on consultants and failed IT systems. It seems to many that the government is more than happy to pour good money after bad to fund its favourite ideological political projects, yet there is not enough money to keep the most vulnerable members of our society out of the new-wave of Victorian Asylums.


Supposedly a ring-fenced resource for a priority group of disabled people with high support needs which provides a much better quality of life and independence which could not be provided by local authority funding, the loss of this fund will undoubtedly result in many severely disabled people losing their independence and finding themselves warehoused in unsuitable care homes, where, once isolated from the outside world, it is believed that many will suffer neglect. Maintaining some control over the provision of good quality care is hugely important to this small group of vulnerable users, both in terms of physical help, but also in terms of human dignity and pride.


The loss of the ILF will also mean many disabled people will no longer be able to do paid work and contribute back to society by way of income tax, further marginalising this already-demonized section of British society which has been under constant, sustained attack by the government since coming to power in 2010.


All photos © 2012 Pete Riches

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Taken on February 13, 2012