Disabled protesters attempted to storm parliament to deliver a letter to speaker John Bercow, say disability campaigners.
Earlier this week a brave band of around thirty protesters – included people in wheelchairs – got within yards of David Cameron, when they attempted to gain access to the House of Commons debating chamber.
Inside, apparently oblivious to the amazing events unfolding on the other side of the door, David Cameron was busy responding to a series of questions from MPs during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).
Furious protesters chanting “save the ILF” occupied the House of Commons central lobby, as stunned journalists frantically reported the unfolding events. The BBC even dropped their coverage of PMQs to report the protest to the public
Campaigners fear that the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in England will result in severely disabled people becoming prisoners in their own homes, unable to live independently and contribute in their communities.
The ILF is described on the government website as a fund which, “delivers financial support to disabled people so they can choose to live in their communities rather than in residential care”.
One disability campaigner told Welfare Weekly that protesters felt as if they “had no choice”, but to take their campaign to the heart of government.
Grassroots campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAG), say the protesters were attempting to deliver a letter to the speaker.
The letter published on their website reads:
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 country we are denied the same opportunities to live and to contribute to society.