BUNGLED rulings by the private firm deciding whether benefit claimants are fit to work are costing taxpayers s50million, we can reveal.
The Government have been urged to claw back millions from the contractors after they wrongly assessed thousands on disability benefits.
Atos Healthcare is being paid s100million a year by the Tories to reassess people claiming disability and sickness benefits.
But around 30,000 people appealed against their decisions, with 40 per cent of them successful, which has cost the government around s50million.
The Department for Work and Pensions’ contract with Atos allows it to recoup money from the firm for poor medical advice.
But UK employment minister Chris Grayling has admitted not a single penny has been claimed back.
Quizzed by Labour’s Tom Greatrex, he said Atos “have met all of their targets for medical advice”.
Greatrex, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, said: “The Toryled Government’s failure to provide the taxpayer value for money is disgraceful and the attitude of the minister responsible for this defies belief.
“To suggest Atos has met its targets when it is needlessly costing the taxpayer millions is unacceptable. “It is astonishing that the Government did not recoup a single penny of taxpayer money from Atos, despite its obvious failings.
“At a time when the welfare budget is being slashed by billions, many people will be surprised that the government is not demanding repayment from a multimillionpound international organisation. “The Government is very quick to demand money back from welfare recipients who don’t live up to their responsibilities. They should do likewise with Atos.”
DWP’s contract with Frenchowned Atos allows the government to “apply financial remedies” where the firm has “failed to meet contractual targets”.
A dwp spokeswoman said: “If a decision is overturned at appeal, it does not necessarily mean that the original decision was inaccurate.
“Often, customers produce new evidence at their appeal.”
Atos said it had nothing to add to the DWP’s statement.
We revealed in March how Glasgow GP Margaret McCartney went undercover at an Atos recruitment evening.
She was told: “You are not in a typical caring role. This isn’t about diagnosing. We don’t call them patients. We call them claimants.”