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Fighting for an independent life

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mary laver, ILF, disability issuesBelow is a message – and a link to a video – from Mary, who is directly affected by the ongoing welfare cuts.

‘Dear Friends,

I’m writing to let you know about an emergency that is happening to disabled people in the UK right now as you read this.

Some of Britain’s most disabled people – including me – are facing losing our right to living independent lives.

The Independent Living Fund (ILF) is a pot of money that helps disabled people who need the highest levels of support to do more than just exist.

But David Cameron’s government has already closed the ILF to new applicants – and now he wants to stop it for the group of 18,500 people who already receive it.

That will mean people like me will end up sitting alone looking out of the window for most of the day unable to even go to the toilet.

Until now, despite being severely disabled by rheumatoid arthritis and unable to walk or use my hands or arms, I’ve been able to live a fulfilling life.

In 2012 I was a Gamesmaker, and I carried the Olympic torch. Now, I will be imprisoned at home, and will even have to give up my beloved dogs Jack and Molly.

At 66 years old, severely disabled, and totally human and wheelchair dependent, I have found myself looking at the deep pond at the bottom of my garden, no longer wanting to live. My weight has dropped down from 9 stone to 6 stone.

But I didn’t want to just sit around feeling sorry for myself, so I asked campaigners to make a 15-minute film about me.

You can click here to read my full story.

It’s not just the ILF, the whole of social care provision is in crisis. Sooner or later this will affect most of you if you become disabled or when you get older.

Disabled people are also under attack from the Bedroom Tax, from the – flawed – Work Capability Assessment process and ATOS’s reviled tests, from the abolition of Disability Living Allowance, from cuts to council tax benefit and from Benefit Caps.

We wonder what we’ve done to deserve it.

We aren’t the ones who caused the banking crisis. But it seems as if we are the ones who are paying for it.

We wanted you to know what’s happening to disabled people under ‘Austerity’, because we thought if you did you’d want to campaign with us about it.

If you do, please write to your MP urgently, asking them to save the ILF. You can send them a letter at the House of Commons, or email them via theyworkforyou.

And please forward this email to everyone you know.

Signed: Mary Laver.’

Please write to your MP urgently, asking them to save the Independent Living Fund which exists to help disabled people who need the highest levels of support.

You can contact your MP easily through this website.

You could use this as a template:

Dear MP,
The government has already been found guilty of illegally deciding to close the Independent Living Fund and now have to remake their decision. I believe that closing this fund would violate the human rights of disabled people who have the highest support needs to live independently in the community. Closure of the ILF would not only force disabled people back into residential care homes but also cause the UK to breach its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

I urge you to watch this video, which gives a very real idea of how important this fund is, and to do everything you can to save this vital fund.

Best wishes,

Signed: Voter/Taxpayer/Human Being.

A version of this post appeared on the False Economy blog and the Disabled People Against Cuts site.

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