Nov 282013

It’s been a busy few days for DPAC gathering evidence on the cumulative impact of cuts on disabled people, and on the crisis in independent living.  On the 25th we heard moving and powerful testimonies of how the Government are ruining lives through their austerity regime. Disabled people are faced with a range of cuts and so called ‘reforms’ which are contravening our basic human rights. We are faced with stark choices between eating or heating while having our dignity stripped by a range of psychological attacks at the same time as having support removed.

 Testimonies will be sent to the UN rapporteur on disability-thanks to everybody who came to London to tell their stories and to those that submitted their experiences through email. This event was originally arranged by Just Fair, however due to the rapporteur being unable to come to the UK due to illness DPAC and Inclusion London stepped in to run this at the last minute, so we could get these important stories out to the UN.

On the 26th the morning saw a hugely successful protest on fuel poverty organised by DPAC, Fuel Poverty Action, the Greater London Pensioners and UKUncut: ‘Bring down the Big Six – Fuel Poverty Kills!’ against the increase in fuel poverty deaths and increasing profits and prices of the big 6. Supporting groups included No Dash for Gas, Campaign Against Climate Change, Climate Revolution, Young Friends of the Earth, Frack Off London, Power for the People, Barnet Alliance for Public Services, Lewes Against the Cuts, SOAS Energy & Climate Change Society and Southwest Against Nuclear. There were also protests in Oxford, Lewes and Bristol.

In the afternoon of the 26th the Emergency meeting on the crisis in independent living took place at parliament hosted by DPAC and Inclusion London.  An event originally planned by Just Fair to launch their report to the UN rapporteur which DPAC and Inclusion London stepped in to run with a new focus on the crisis in independent living.  This was in response to the successful appeal outcome at the courts on the Independent Living Fund-and the continuing awareness of the crisis for ILF users, those trying to access local authority support and the Government’s apparent non-compliance with article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The afternoon launched DPAC’s report on the crisis in independent living and cumulative impacts of the cuts, one of many that DPAC is working on, as well as the film by Mary Laver an ILF user. The afternoon was complimented by speeches from John Evans and reflection on the past battles for independent living.  We heard from the brilliant Louise Whitfield (one of the solicitors in the ILF case) and were treated to an excellent DPAC theatre performance which brought to life the reality of impacts on disabled people and the different barriers we face.

Despite extremely short notice the event was well attended by MPs and those from the Lords. Kate Green , Hywell Williams, Katy Clarke, Anne Begg, John McDonnell, Jim Shannon, Andy Slaughter, Baroness  Campbell, Baroness Wilkins  and a host of others including Mary Laver’s MP.  Apologies were sent from Anne McGuire, Caroline Lucas, Lucy Powell, Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa Pierce

Mike Penning ‘our’ new minister for disability was invited but did not respond or send apologies!

Many thanks to all that attended, supported and worked so hard towards the afternoon-especially the many DPAC members and supporters that wrote to their MPs and publicised this. Some may ask why English national formal disability organisations with much more money and resources than us aren’t putting their energies into these types of activities all the time- we don’t have any answers or understanding on that.

We will have a more detailed report on the Emergency meeting on the Crisis in Independent Living event in Parliament with film and photos soon

Download DPAC report Crisis in Disabled People’s Independent Living 

See Mary Laver’s film on ILF View the movie



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  7 Responses to “Independent Living and the Cumulative Impact of Cuts: from the streets to the Commons”

  1. Hi sorry I could not make it along. Have sent my info to Anne McGuire previously, so I presume she may have passed it on. If not will be in contact again. But in the mean time, please elaborate on what you mean by an ‘English’ ‘national’ formal disability organisation? Who to your mind are they?, and where are they? If for example so called ‘England’ had a referendum on independence form ‘Scotland’, ‘Wales’ and ‘Northern Ireland’ for example, what then is the position of ‘UK’Uncut and ‘team ‘GB’? Does disability know regional or national borders?, Does DPAC even? You appear to restrict yourselves to ‘UK interests’ and legislation. If approached from and all inclusive global perspective it might have broader appeal and support. What would be the objections?

    • Thanks for your support -the DPO refered to was Disability Rights UK based in England. DPAC already works with European organisations and we have worked internationally with Canada, New Zealand and other countries- so we dont place English, UK or national borders on our selves- the fight for disability rights is indeed international and we dont work within the limits of borders, having also worked with Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish groups. We cannot speak for UKUncut, obviously, but know they are a fantastic group working hard to raise the many issues and impacts arising under the so called austerity regime. Hope this clarifies

    • Hi Debbie,

      Firstly, sorry I meant Anne Begg not Anne McGuire. Do you work with Disabled Peoples International? I think disabled people who come from minority backgrounds of all colours, in this country are being neglected in fair representation. Our families have lived worked and paid taxes here and are not being represented on a decision making level. If we were only reliant on ‘British’ or ‘European’ disabled peoples organisations or even that of the individual countries outside Europe we would have no visible or vocal sense of representation or solidarity. This was very notable in the ‘jingoistic’ expression of the Atos Games for example, when MPS, British companies who previously showed no sign of support for disabled people in their election manifestos suddenly tried to hijack the ‘glory’ of the ‘superhuman’ feats of the Paralympians, to sell themselves. Disabled people were encouraged to compete against one another and ‘battle’ for individualistic or ‘national’ glory, when as you say our resources should be pooled globally. This is the only way we can all ensure a more cooperative and effective attitude towards building the kind of peaceful environment we need to move forward prosperously.

  2. “5 benefit changes the government don’t want you to know about”

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