By New Worker correspondent
MEMBERS and supporters of the campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) filled the Strand in London outside the law courts to show their support for six of their comrades inside fighting test cases to defend the Independent Living Allowance (ILF).
The ILF was set up in 1988 to support disabled people with the highest levels of support need to live in the community. Since then it has helped thousands to live active and full lives.
The Government decision to close the ILF and instead devolve responsibility to local authorities follows a consultation that disabled people claim is unlawful.
Whereas support received through the ILF has transformed thousands of lives, local authorities are not able to provide the same level or range of support through their current systems. With central funding to local authorities being cut this can only get worse.
Speakers at the vigil outside the court included Linda Burnip, co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts, Tracey Lazard, Chief executive of Inclusion London and many disabled people who are personally affected by the closure of the Independent Living Fund.
Writer/performers and ILF users Sophie Partridge and Penny Pepper read from their new script developed to highlight the importance of the Fund.
A key aspect of the case is proving that the change is in effect a very big cut in benefits rather than a reform of the way it is administered, as the Department of Work and Pensions claims.
The DWP barrister took a disgraceful line of defence trying to say that the closure was not based on money but on desire for equity between non-ILF users and ILF users.
The court is likely to make a ruling in April.