Jun 252015

Dear Mr Speaker,

On 30th June the Independent Living Fund, providing essential support to disabled people with high support needs with everyday basic tasks such as eating, drinking and going to the toilet, will close. This is the result of a decision taken by the government without a vote in Parliament.

The closure will have a devastating impact on disabled people. In December 2014 the High Court found that as a consequence of the closure of the Fund “independent living might well be put seriously in peril for… Most (or a substantial number of) ILF users”.

Without the ILF the UK is not able to meet the basic human rights of disabled people.

We have seen this since the closure of the ILF to new applicants in December 2010 which has resulted in disabled people left trapped in their own homes or dependent on friends and families, placing intolerable strain on relationships and denying disabled people the chance to live an ordinary life.

Now as Local Authorities start to reassess individual support packages and inform disabled people what support we will receive after 30th June 2015 we are fearing for our futures. Currently we pay taxes, we work, we study, we raise our families and make many valuable contributions to society in other ways. The cuts in support that are being handed out to individuals will leave us without dignity, sitting in our own faeces for hours at a time dependent on the kindness of friends, family, neighbours and even strangers just to eat, drink and move.

We urge the honourable Speaker to ensure that it is our elected Parliament that has a say on whether disabled people in the UK have the right to independent living or whether in the sixth richest nation in the world we are denied the same opportunities to live and to contribute to society.
Yours ever,
Disabled People

Apr 212012

Politicians of all parties have rightly paid tribute to Jack Ashley after his death on 20th April aged 89. Not one of them mentioned the fact that he tirelessly pushed for an Independent Living Bill. These very same politicians blocked, delayed and ran out of time on dates at which this bill was to go through readings.  The Independent Living Bill set out the basics that disabled people should be entitled to, to ensure real independent living. When I spoke to him in 2008 on behalf of the European Network on Independent Living he said:

My Bill on independent living is designed to sweep away the scandalously inadequate system of services for disabled people and to replace it with one which is based on freedom, choice, control and participation. At present, independent living is a mirage. Consequently, the present system means there are very few rights to services. For example, the very notion that the right to merely being washed and fed provides independence is bizarre. These conditions mean that disabled people have to fight for every concession rather than have services provided as of right.

Today, disabled people have no rights in their choice of where they live and who they live with, no legal entitlement to advocacy, no right to communication support and equipment, no right to portable support. They are trapped in a system which is slow, cumbersome and inflexible.

The Bill sets out clear principles for the delivery of support to disabled people and their families. For the first time social care, health and housing support will have a clear purpose set out in law. This would guarantee disabled people the services they are deprived of today.

Every disabled person would be guaranteed minimum outcomes which would focus on delivering the means to live an ordinary life, rather than the current “feed and clean” only culture.

Disabled people would be supported to define their own needs through self-assessment which would save time and money. Disabled people would have new rights to communication support and equipment, to independent advocacy, to support mental health needs and to palliative care and rehabilitation. This is merely the flavour of the Bill and there are many detailed proposals, all of which combine to present a very different picture of independent living from todays. This Bill has the potential to transform the lives of millions of disabled people in Britain. They are entitled to it and it is up to us, working together, to provide it.”

He also said

Throughout my Parliamentary career, I have fought for all disabled people to have the same choice, dignity, freedom and control as every other citizen. These are the central principles of ‘Independent Living’.

One politician who will be sadly missed

See: https://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/apr/21/labour-peer-lord-ashley-dies?newsfeed=true

Debbie Jolly


Feb 112012

Vigil & Lobby of Parliament re Welfare reform 1-3pm Tues 14 Feb

Vigil & Lobby of Parliament

As the Welfare Reform Bill returns to the House of Lords.

1-3pm Tues 14 Feb

Old Palace Yard, Abingdon St SW1.

When the Bill ping-pongs back to the Commons on Wed 15 Feb we will also be there from 1-3pm.

Single Mothers’ Self-Defence smsd@allwomencount.net 
WinVisible win@winvisible.org 
Tel: 020 7482 2496

Jan 202012

A big thank you to Harpy Marx to let us repost her account of the lobby on here

I attended the vigil and lobby outside Parliament regarding the Welfare Reform Bill and the ongoing attacks on welfare benefits.

Welfare Reform protest

Welfare Reform protesters

Welfare Reform protesters

Welfare Reform protesters

Welfare Reform protesters

Welfare Reform protesters

Welfare Reform protesters - Linda Burnip

Reform Benefit Protestors

Reform Benefit Protestors

First posted at Harpy Marx’s blog

Watch the Guardian video on the previous Welfare Reform protest 12th Jan

As the House of Lords debates amendments to the welfare reform bill, protesters from a range of welfare activist groups such as Single Mothers’ Self Defence, Mad Pride and Right to Work gathered outside to lobby members. They were joined by Labour MP John McDonnell, who called for ‘much more severe and serious opposition’ from the Labour party, in the hope that parts of the bill could be defeated if it comes back to the Commons