Dear Ms Abrahams
I am writing to you in your role as shadow minister for disabled people about the on going struggles across the UK to protect Independent Living for all.
As a disabled activist I have been campaigning for the rights of disabled people to independent living in Wales. Recently we have received promising news that we are moving towards a brighter future with the forthcoming Social Services and Wellbeing Act and the fact that the Welsh Independent Living Grant has been continued until March 2017. Please visit my blog, using the link below, to find out more information.
Even though there is more work to be done I am fortunate that I live in Wales as Welsh Labour are providing hope for the future. Whether this hope is well-placed remains to be seen. Scotland and Northern Ireland have superb Independent Living Funds in place for disabled people, but this does not mean that we should forget about the struggles of our friends in England. I am not an expert on the situation in England though I believe local authorities have received a monetary transfer of the Independent Living Funds, but the amount of support provided varies from authority to authority. What once was an independent scheme to protect and enhance the lives of all disabled people has now become nothing short of a disgusting postcode lottery.
I am therefore writing to you to ask what is being done to fight back against Tory decimation of welfare and equality? I feel that this is such a big issue as disabled people fought for years to be treated as a valuable part of their communities. For this to be taken away under the guise of ideological austerity is no less than social cleansing. Shouldn’t your party be standing up for the rights of disabled people in the face of such unsympathetic treatment by the Tories?
Since Jeremy Corbyn has been leader of your party much good has been done such as the victory on tax credits and the prevention of cuts to the police service. Are you able to do more to help bring the plight of disabled people to the public attention and ensure their rights to control, dignity and equality are met?
Speaking at the time of the closure of the ILF, Jeremy is quoted as saying:
“Today will be a day of deep anguish for many disabled people and their carers, as the government closes the Independent Living Fund. I have supported the campaign to save the ILF from the start and pledge to support its reinstatement.”
I believe your party needs to reaffirm your position on ILF and provide reassurance that the ILF system will be re-introduced nationally under a Labour government. Sure, we have made progress in Wales but we shouldn’t have to go through such stress and I don’t believe the right to live independently should depend on where you live. A UK-wide national system is what is needed for disabled people to look to the future with unequivocal confidence and security – wherever they reside.
Many thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Nathan Lee Davies