Tag Archives: Independent Living Fund

Against the legalisation of Assisted Suicide: a right to independent living before a right to suicide

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Sisters of Frida is a member of ROFA (Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance). In times of austerity, we see disabled and older women are likely to be coerced into assisted suicide from different pressures.

If the Assisted Dying Bill is passed, some Disabled and terminally ill people’s lives will be ended without their consent, through mistakes, subtle pressure and abuse.  No safeguards have ever been enacted or proposed that can prevent this outcome – an outcome which can never be undone.

Read the story of Maud in the Guardian

If we structure society in such a way that many people have desperate, miserable lives, what sort of choice is it when people choose to kill themselves?
Maud lives round the corner from me in south London. She is 90 and on her own. She remembers a time when everyone knew everyone else, and when there was genuine community solidarity. Nowadays people come and go, she says, and young people can’t be bothered with the elderly. She is often lonely. “Even the doctor came round to see me and asked me if I wanted to commit suicide,” she says.

#notdeadyetuk

(photo of a NotDead Yet protest by Eleanor )

From Inclusion London

With two Assisted Dying bills currently before parliament, it is really important that Deaf and Disabled people and our organisations speak out loudly against the legalisation of assisted suicide and raise awareness of the threat this poses to disability equality.

Our message is that we want support to live not die. At a time when essential support is being taken away from us, when the challenges we face are exponentially growing as a direct result of adverse government policy, it is more dangerous than ever to introduce legislation which encourages suicide as a solution to the barriers Disabled people face.

We say: give Disabled people a right to independent living before a right to suicide.

Below are different ways that Disabled campaigners and our supporters can take action and get involved. We realise that not everyone has the time to do everything but anything you are able to contribute to the campaign would be valued.

1) Sign up the Reclaiming Our Futures statement. It’s quick and easy to do: just email your name to ellen.clifford@inclusionlondon.org.uk with ‘AS statement’ in the subject line. We are asking organisations, campaigns and individuals to sign up before the end of August. It’s really important we can show there is wide support for the case against legalisation.

Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance Statement

We are opposed to legalisation of assisted suicide. It will remove equality and choice from disabled people and further contribute to our oppression. If the Assisted Dying Bill is passed, some Disabled and terminally ill people’s lives will be ended without their consent, through mistakes, subtle pressure and abuse.  No safeguards have ever been enacted or proposed that can prevent this outcome – an outcome which can never be undone.

[Reclaiming Our Futures or ROFA is a network of grassroots Disabled people led campaigns and organisations across England. For more information see: http://www.rofa.org.uk/%5D

2) Write to or arrange to meet your local MP (even over the Summer they will be receiving and responding to mail). You can download a template letter here.  Some MPs are organising public meetings to canvass the views of their constituents – check their websites to see if your MP is one of these. Please send us copies of any responses you receive.
3) Help publicise the facts about assisted suicide, for example send a letter to your local paper. Download the Assisted Suicide Open Template Letter for Media here.
4) If you have a personal story about this subject which informs your view on it and which you are willing to share please let us know. We are also looking for Disabled people who are happy to speak to the media about why we oppose legalisation of assisted suicide.
5) Join us at the Not Dead Yet UK/DPAC Protest on 11th September. Gather outside Parliament to show our opposition to Marris’ bill while it is being debated inside. Meet Old Palace Yard (opposite the House of Lord’s) from 9am. Further details to be confirmed.
6) Check if your MP is one of the named supporters of Marris’ bill? DPAC is encouraging campaign groups to organise protests outside the constituency offices of those MPs who have put their name to Marris’ Assisted Dying bill. If you would like support to organise a local protest or for more information contact Mail@dpac.uk.net(See http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm150624/debtext/150624-0001.htm#15062462000011 to check if your MP is named)

Here is a good Assisted Dying Bill Information_Easy Read version explaining the Assisted Dying Bill for everybody from ROFA (MS Word document)

empty wheelchairs and shoes with notes on them

photo from Not Dead Yet campaign

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Sisters of Frida’s Anne Pridmore takes on Government

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anne pridmore

Anne Pridmore

We at Sisters of Frida are proud to support Ann Pridmore, from Sisters of Frida, a disabled rights campaigner as she prepares for one of her toughest fights in taking on the Government in court.

Anne will be one of six disabled people from across England challenging the decision to scrap the independent living fund (ILF).

 Like thousands of people, Anne, 73, who has cerebral palsy, gets about half of her benefits directly from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) through the ILF.

The cash can be used for such things as hiring an assistant and getting laundry and shopping done – which are not provided by councils through social services care packages.

The fund has already closed to new members and, from 2015, the money will go to councils instead.

It will not be ring-fenced, meaning local authorities can do what they want with it.

Anne, of Market Harborough, said she feared many disabled people would have to rely on relatives or charities in order to continue living independently. Her challenge will be heard at the High Court in London over two days from March 13.

Anne, who has been campaigning for disabled people’s rights for 27 years, said:

“The Government always attacks the weakest members of society. There are about 18,500 people who are at risk of losing their funding and it’s a big step backwards.

“This Government has set back disabled rights 25 years since it has been in power, with people being taken off incapacity benefits and now this.

“It’s undoing all the work I’ve been doing.

“I think this fight is going to be a hard one.”

Anne said while she felt too old to be taking a Government department to court, she was doing it on behalf of younger people with disabilities who could benefit from the ILF in the future.

The six disabled people will ask the courts to declare that the public consultation held last year was unlawful and that the department had failed to explain why the only option it offered in its consultation was to close the fund.

They will also argue the Government breached the Equality Act by failing to assess the impact of the closure on disabled people.

Read more: http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/Anne-takes-Government/story-18134803-detail/story.html#axzz2LpItqwMH

Feisty Disabled Women speak about what having adequate support means to Independent Living and how benefit cuts by the government will affect them

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Please read Kate Belgrave’s
A nasty cut: people affected by the closure of the independent living fund
for her interviews with Sophie Partridge and Penny Pepper and how the government’s atrocious decision to close the Independent Living Fund (the ILF) will affect them.

Watch Sophie Partridge talking about the importance of funding people to live independently.

She says,

‘You know we can’t be cast as victims all the time. Its difficult we have to fight the good fight without appearing pathetic cripples, to be honest with you, its very hard to find the balance, actually, …because a lot of the stuff, the arguments against benefit cuts, they do use the word ‘vulnerable’ a hell of a lot…(written to David Cameron) its not my impairment which makes me vulnerable, it is your cuts, it is your policies..give us decent resources and we will add to your economy..we will play our part but we will have to have adequalte resources.

Video by Kate Belgrave

Penny Pepper tells what having Independent Living Fund means to her as a disabled woman and more…
Video by Kate Belgrave