Disability News

Save the Independent Living Fund

The Independent Living Fund provides funding for severely disabled people to live independently in their own homes and participate in society — so it’s an obvious target for the Tory-LibDem government to cut!

Mike Penney, then minister for (attacking) disabled people, announced in March this year that the Fund would close immediately to new applicants and then close completely. Disabled people’s organisations and trade unions have campaigned vigorously against this appalling cut. 

A legal challenge succeeded in having the government’s policy declared illegal under judicial review. But the government has found a way to bypass the judgment and press on. So three of the legal challengers have begun a new judicial review, which will heard at the High Court on 22-23 October 2014. Supporters will hold a vigil outside the hearing. 

The TUC has produced a new briefing for campaigners, which you can download from its website. 

Stop student transport cuts!

Campaigners are fighting Monmouthshire County Council’s decision to stop funding transport to college for young people over 16 years old with Special Educational Needs.

Some of these young people are unable to use public transport, and if parents are unable to provide private transport, they may not be able to continue in education. Once again, cuts hit hardest the people who need services most.

Monmouthshire Council is run by a Tory-LibDem coalition.

Campaigners are running an online petition on the 38 Degrees website.

Disabled students’ allowance win

Protests have forced the government to withdraw plans to scrap the Disabled Students’ Allowance.

On 12 September, universities and science minister Greg Clark announced that the “changes” would be postponed until the academic year 2016/17. By “changes”, he meant that colleges and universities would have to take over assisting students currently assisted by government grants. The Allowance pays for travel costs, specialist equipment such as computer software, and non-medical helpers such as readers or note-takers. In 2011-12, over £144m was paid in DSA  to 61,000 students.

Higher education unions, student unions and others campaigned against the government’s attack on disabled students’ funding. TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference this year unanimously passed a resolution against the cut.

The postponement shows that campaigning pressure can push the Tories onto the back foot. It also enables the government to be elected next year to abandon this attack and confirm decent financial support for disabled students.

It is one more demand for disabled people and our supporters to place on the Labour Party as the general election approaches.

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