Angela Smith appearing in the TUC-backed fim about ILF by Tim Lezard Trade unionists are being asked to back a campaign to stop the government cutting the Independent Living Fund – a move that will affect thousands of disabled people. As the Royal Cour …

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, UK unions,
Angela Smith appearing in the TUC-backed fim about ILF

Angela Smith appearing in the TUC-backed fim about ILF

by Tim Lezard

Trade unionists are being asked to back a campaign to stop the government cutting the Independent Living Fund – a move that will affect thousands of disabled people.

As the Royal Court of Justice hears a case against the closure of the ILF, the TUC has posted online a three-minute film [link at foot of story] in which severely disabled people explain how the fund has helped them.

A judicial review brought by three disabled people is being heard today. They argue the government has breached the Public Sector Equality Duty by failing to consult organisations and individuals over the decision to close the fund in 2015.

The ILF, which was established in 1988, helps 18,000 severely disabled people pay for the extra care they need to work, study and live independent lives. In the new short film, co-produced by the TUC supported False Economy campaign, disabled people explain why the ILF is so crucial and how scrapping it will exclude thousands of disabled people from work, study and participating in society.

The disabled people featured in the film include Nadia Clarke and Mark Williams.

Nadia, 22, has cerebral palsy and a hearing impairment. She said: “In the future I want to travel the world, study at university, become a working advisor for disability rights and have a relationship and children. Without the ILF, my parents will end up looking after me and may even have to give up their paid work.”

Mark, 49, is a school governor and former social worker. He said: “The ILF means I can be an active school governor. With all the other cuts in benefits, if the ILF closes, I’m worried that I’ll only have my basic needs met. David Cameron has no idea. He hasn’t a clue because he doesn’t have to worry about money.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Fund has had a transformational effect on the lives of thousands of people. It’s allowed them to be a full part of the community, with an active social life, and the chance to have a career and contribute to the economy.

“Scrapping the Fund will mean turning the clock back to the dark ages of disabled people being excluded from our society. Local authorities will struggle to step into the void with their budgets being so heavily slashed by central government.”

The film’s co-producer, False Economy’s Kate Belgrave, said: “The film shows disabled people going about their daily lives and talking about the fight they’ve put up to save the Independent Living Fund. Disabled people must be supported in their fight for the independent life that everyone has an absolute right to expect.”

A spokesperson for Disabled People Against Cuts, which was involved in the production of the film, said: “Whatever the outcome of the court case, the fight to save the Fund is far from over and disabled people refuse to allow themselves to be railroaded into care homes or worse.“

(http://vimeo.com/106278113


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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