Government Censors Disability Protest

independent-living-fundAngry campaigners today took to the Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions to protest against the scrapping of the Independent Living Fund, a fund which since the late 1980’s has helped disabled people throughout the UK with the highest of support needs, enabling them to live full lives in the community rather than in residential care.

One of the latest victims of an ideological austerity program by a Conservative majority government that seeks to prove that Thatcherism is not dead, it’s just been resting for a while.

This government has already been told, during the last Parliament, that their plans were simply unlawful – as the Court of Appeal stated that closing the fund put the Department for Work and Pensions in breach of section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.

However, as we know, Conservative governments past and present have never been ones to let something small like justice stand in their way.

They’ve pressed ahead closing the ILF whilst ‘merging’ it into a social care scheme which, well, will end up with the same effect.  Care and support, previously provided by the Independent Living Fund will now be provided by your council – that’s the same councils that have had an average 37% cut in funding since the Tories managed a power grab with Clegg and co. in 2010.

The chances of the most vulnerable and disabled people in our country receiving the extra support they need is next to zero.

As the protesters, many whom were in wheelchairs, attempted to ‘storm’ Parliament, the doors were promptly shut and Commons officials instructed broadcasters not to film the protests, despite these continuing to take place in Westminster’s central lobby.

The government has decided to press ahead with it’s reforms despite being advised by disability activism groups that the future of this fund could be the difference between life and death for some people.

Is it more worrying that our Conservative government is willing to sacrifice the most vulnerable in our society in our name or that they have officials who don’t want our free press to report on the reality that, following the latest in a string of protests, this government does not have the confidence of a majority of the citizens it claims to represent?  Only you can decide that.

One thing’s for sure – we’re not going to let you attempt to censor the media and think you can get away with it – after all, considering this is such as ‘sensible’ economic plan, surely Mr. Cameron, you should be craving the media attention that you are so willingly being given at the moment?