A GREATER Manchester disabled group has labelled local government cuts to the Independent Living Fund (ILF) as a “local disaster.”

The ILF allows severely disabled people to live as independent a life as possible and the cuts – which are now the responsibility of local government rather than Westminster – have been widely condemned across the country.

Greater Manchester is no different and Brian Hilton, the digital campaigns officer from the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP), joined in the chorus of disapproval.

Hilton said; “it is a disaster, it is unwarranted, it’s unjustified and it’s politically unsustainable”

The spokesman also stated that he believed it was regressive move that would impact on disabled care

“When I was born disabled people were very much out of sight, either lived sheltered lives in their family home or where locked away in institutions.”

“If we are not careful we are going to go back to those days of disabled people being locked away, either prisoners in their own home or locked away in residential care.

“All the advances that we have made in terms of supporting disabled people to be more independent to be an active participant to society, is seriously under threat.

Mr Hilton said that cuts would also impact projects to get disabled people into workplaces and study at university.

“The access to work programs supports disabled people in the workplace, so how can cutting that support make any sense?

“Also, cuts to disabled students grants, by having access to an education you have more opportunities to gain employment, to be actively involved in community, so again how does that make any sense.”

He continued, “financially people who have their support reduced will end up in residential care and whichever study you look at, it is far more expensive to support someone living in their own home”

Mr Hilton warned that the government was unfairly singling out disabled people, “I think disabled people are the group being hit the hardest with. On one hand, you know we are being hit by government cuts, but also we are being made to be scapegoats for the current problem the country is facing

“We are an easy target, we don’t really have many people standing up for us.”

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