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OnlineMilitantDisabledMovement

Will you be part of positive action to protect disabled people from further government cuts?

A new petition has been launched to stop the government from cutting the budgets of people with disabilities – and a Facebook and Twitter ‘storm’ at 5pm today (Sunday) is intended to amplify the “voice of the ignored”.

On the petition site at Change.org, Labour councillor Joshua Brandwood, writing for the Online Militant Disabled Movement, explained: “We are about giving a voice to disabled people through the usage of social media.

“Central government have planned to localise the Independent Living Fund (ILF), which leaves many unsure and sceptical about how they are going to live independently.

“Mainstream media claim that this won’t impact ILF claimants. However, after consulting with many disabled individuals, it has definitely become apparent that the impact is very real and something needs to be done.

“This petition aims to stop further budgetary reductions to society’s most vulnerable. We should be focusing on looking after one another.”

He added that signatories’ political views are irrelevant: “We are uniting to fight for our human rights.”

The social media ‘storm’ will begin at 5pm today (Sunday) using the hashtag #voiceoftheignored.

The plight of the disabled and long-term sick has become a hot topic – initially because of This Blog’s Freedom of Information request, forcing the DWP to admit the number of Employment and Support Allowance claimants who have died since the assessment system was changed by Iain Duncan Smith, and more recently because disabled protesters tried to storm the House of Commons on Wednesday to protest against the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in England.

Campaigners fear that the ILF’s loss will result in severely disabled people becoming prisoners in their own homes, unable to live independently or contribute in their communities.

The attempt to break into Prime Minister’s Questions has been described by Disabled People Against Cuts as a bid to deliver a letter to the Speaker, John Bercow.

The letter points out that the ILF closure was decided by the Coalition government, without a democratic vote in Parliament – and means that, from Tuesday (June 30), the UK will be breaching its commitments to meet the basic human rights of disabled people – as proved by the closure of the fund to new applicants since December 2010, which has placed “intolerable strain on relationships and [denied] disabled people the chance to live an ordinary life.”

The letter continues: “Now, as Local Authorities start to reassess individual support packages and inform disabled people what support we will receive after 30th June 2015, we are fearing for our futures. Currently we pay taxes, we work, we study, we raise our families and make many valuable contributions to society in other ways. The cuts in support that are being handed out to individuals will leave us without dignity, sitting in our own faeces for hours at a time dependent on the kindness of friends, family, neighbours and even strangers just to eat, drink and move.

“We urge the honourable Speaker to ensure that it is our elected Parliament that has a say on whether disabled people in the UK have the right to independent living or whether in the sixth richest nation in the country we are denied the same opportunities to live and to contribute to society.”

This is the choice before the UK’s citizens – able-bodied and disabled – today: Do we sit back like cowards, say “It’s nothing to do with me,” and let others be persecuted until, as Pastor Martin Niemoller stated, they come for us and there’s nobody left to speak in our defence?

Or do we show that we do have a backbone and support the people who need help now – thereby ensuring that none of our supposed public servants ever thinks they can go after anybody else in the same way?

The choice is ours.

Once again: The petition may be found – and signed – here.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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