SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP raises ATOS contract concerns

Sun, 05/08/2012 – 10:24 

An SNP MP has written to the UK Work and Pensions Secretary expressing concern at the decision to award ATOS Healthcare a new five year contract to run assessments for ‘personal independence payments’, the replacement for disability living allowance (DLA).

ATOS already have a £100 million a year contract to run the widely-criticised computer-based work capability assessments (WCAs) for Employment Support Allowance claims, which removed lifeline benefits from thousands of sick and disabled people deemed ‘fit to work’.

Problems with WCAs were widely acknowledged and highlighted both by disability organisations and by medical professionals including the BMA.

Forty per cent of appeals of decisions are successful, rising significantly when legal representation is sought.

A third independent review of the Work Capability Assessments is still underway, led by Professor Malcolm Harrington.

SNP Work & Pensions Spokesperson Dr. Eilidh Whiteford

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“It is astonishing that the UK Government have awarded ATOS Healthcare these contracts given the widespread concerns around the operation of the work capability assessments and before the independent review has even been completed.

“While the UK Government have properly promised a moratorium over future G4S contracts after the Olympic security shambles, a similar robust approach should be taken with other private partners who have failed to deliver on multi-million pound public contracts.

“These inadequate tick-box tests removed lifeline support from thousands of sick and disabled people. The UK Government have questions to answer over this decision – which has been taken before the review looking at the problems with the WCA has even been completed. By awarding ATOS with this new contract, it suggests the Tories are either not listening to the harrowing experiences people have faced, or they simply don’t care.

“Other organisations have had to deal with the impact of this failure. Citizens Advice Bureaux have seen a huge increase in numbers of people turning to them for help with Employment Support Allowance. So much so they are now dealing with an average 100 new ESA cases every working day. CAB also help with WCA appeals and win nearly 70% of them, showing the inherent flaws in the original system. We do not want to see this replicated for thousands of disabled people who currently rely on DLA to help them with increased costs of being disabled.

“It is deeply concerning that the same company have been awarded the new contract – and does not bode well for the welfare reforms the UK Government are putting in place.

“The UK Government must give clarity over what measures are being put in place to ensure the new assessments are safe and rigorous, protecting sick and disabled people instead of putting them at risk of harm.

“With decisions like these, it’s no wonder the Tories are known as the nasty party of UK politics.”

Scottish National Party


18 thoughts on “SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP raises ATOS contract concerns

  1. Craig Diver says:

    Yeah well both in the Scottish Parliament and in the uk parliament the SNP are staunchly Opposed to ATOS!! Lets just hope we all vote the right way in the Independence referendum in 2 years time and get these nasty things reversed!!


    woops sorry forgot too log in before posting! Yes the SNP in both the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments opposed to ATOS and making no bones what they think of the changes too the Benefits system and are doing what they can too cushion the blows in devolved areas where they have control BUT the only real option for Scotland too reverse these nasty changes is too vote Yes in the Independence Referendum in 2 years time!

  3. kasbah says:

    AGREED! John McArdle

    Good luck! I hope that Wales (where i live) will follow suit before long.

  4. kasbah says:

    christine redmond
    so what can we do, ive emailed my mp…reply was useless, signed petitions, surely this has to be against disabled peoples human rights,

    Hi Christine

    We just need to be very persistent, in order to wear them down. Never give up.

  5. Andrew Moir says:

    every disabled person can use the DDA disability discrimination act 2010 to make sure that they are not discriminated against

  6. Christina Klein-Bissett says:

    I have not been able to sleep since I received my” brown letter”. My husband keeps an eye on me…I am loosing the will to make it trough the day. I am so scared and feel so threatened. What is the point trying to go on? If I will not make it because I can not stand the pressure anymore this government has killed me.

  7. christina sosseh says:

    Have the Scottish Government not given ATOS a contract for the commonwealth games in 2014? They should rescind this

  8. Andrew Healey says:

    Unfortunately the highest percentage of MP’s and Politicians are nothing more than spivs, cons and outright criminals that care no more for this country and its people, their only concern is how much they can steal. They are willing to kill in the name of self, Iraq,Afghanistan and F**K knows how many other dirty little wars they have going. This inhumane scum have that much blood on their hands they have been killing unpunished for decades, that they can now do the same to this country and its people, the old, sick and or disabled, mentally ill, low paid, unemployed with impunity . They have AtoS as contract killers with no comeback just part of their large private civilian arm.Remember this scum have no empathy no morals no respect no intelligence they are just a hoard of marauding thugs robbing us blind at any cost.We need the percentage of MP’s from each party that have a conscience and morals to cross the floor and say enough is enough and bring this severe criminal element to book, along with every other bent link in the chain.We pay the EU 1.5 billion a month for the privilege of being a member, I say we should hand back our membership as a start and get all those fraudulent bankers behind bars.

  9. Sharon says:

    The Tory party are not listening and really don’t care! They are happy that its causing suicides and death that is all part of the plan so there are less of us to pay. I think , they think that their plan is working perfectly! Lets face it , remember the outrage that was caused by the panorama exposing the abuse of persons in care homes It seem that not one word have we heard from them about the latest one about ATOS!? NOBODY GIVES A SHIT!
    The stress of just worrying about going through it is making me feel suicidal, So far I havent been tested but its only a matter of time, its a shame we cant sue them for mental torture!?

  10. Christina Klein-Bissett says:

    Most people forget that tomorrow it could be them ! It can go very very quickly and you go from being an active person enjoying life and work to being what you what never would have thought in your worst nightmares. It can hit ANY person at ANY time ! Why are all the people out there so so SURE that it will not hit them, their wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter, sister, has this society become so shortsighted? Do they really think it could never happen to them? What is wrong with this society… I can not understand it ! Tomorrow YOU could be the one whose life is shattered by an illness, an accident…something you would NEVER have expected. How can this go on without society being outraged ? People say: how could Hitler get away with all his atrocities with no one stopping it? THAT IS HOW. NO ONE CARED, no one wanted to stand up and say: stop it now.

  11. Peter Lockhart says:

    Nationalism is never the answer. Working class people should be pulling together across the UK rather than one section pulling away. The fact Rupert Murdoch supports the seperatists agenda is enough to turn me well away from it

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