As three of the disabled people and the parent of a fourth who in 2013 and 2014 brought legal challenges to the decisions by Conservative ministers to close the UK-wide Independent Living Fund, we are concerned by the developments in the Labour Party over the weekend and the threat to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Throughout our campaign to save the Independent Living Fund, Jeremy Corbyn was unstinting in his support for the continuation of the Fund, and issued a statement on the day of closure in June 2015 pledging to campaign for its reinstatement.
The democratic election of Jeremy Corbyn last September instilled hope among many disabled people and their families that the Labour Party had turned a corner, and would campaign hard to stop further austerity and cuts to public services and benefits.
A number of Judicial Reviews brought in recent years reflect the impact public service cuts are having on the lives of disabled people and their families. While legal challenges are sometimes successful, they cannot achieve the impact and change an effective political campaign can.
Rather than sow further division, we would urge Labour MPs to remember who austerity and public sector cuts are hitting the hardest, and the lives now being destroyed by them.
There is a desperate need for unity among working class people of all ages and backgrounds, and we need the Labour Party and its MPs to consider their responsibility and duty of care towards those who will continue to face the consequences if we fail to end austerity now.
This is only possible if the Labour Party unites behind Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and works in unity with the trade unions and disability campaigners to build a political movement to achieve this.
Anne Pridmore, Gabriel Pepper, Paul Taylforth and Stuart Bracking
Published with permission from Disabled People Against Cuts.