Fury at Paralympic ‘hypocrisy’ of private firm Atos behind fit-to-work tests ~ Derby Telegraph

Fury at Paralympic ‘hypocrisy’ of private firm Atos behind fit-to-work tests

ACTIVISTS have staged demonstrations outside the private firm which carries out medical assessments for benefits claims – as part of a week-long series of actions against the company.

Protesters from the Mental Health Action Group and Derbyshire Anti-Cuts Campaign gathered outside the Atos building, off Normanton Road, yesterday.

Protesters outside the Atos Healthcare building, in Normanton Road. Atos, a private firm, is employed by the Government to assess whether people on incapacity benefits are fit to return to work.

They wanted to highlight what they see as the hypocrisy of Atos supporting the Paralympic Games, which begin today.

Campaigner Raoul Pinkney said: “To think they are sponsoring the Games is just mind-boggling.

“At least with companies like McDonald’s customers go of their own free will but with Atos they have no choice at all.”

Mr Pinkney had to attend an Atos medical assessment after he injured his back.

The 41-year-old, from Borrowash, said: “I was told that there would be no problem and that I would receive the benefits.

“But when the claim came back I was told that I had failed the test and was put on to jobseeker’s allowance.

“Since then I have been making people more aware of what they are doing.”

Atos made headlines in Derby after it passed Parkinson’s sufferer Robin Mitchell fit for work.

Mr Mitchell was left facing having his benefits halved but later won an appeal against the decision.

Another protester at the action, organised nationally by Disabled People Against Cuts, was Elizabeth Potter, 48, whose husband is facing an assessment.

She said: “It puts so much pressure on people.

“My husband has chronic mental health problems that mean he is unfit to work and he is very worried.

“Atos are more than happy to promote Paralympians who have been supported by public funding but they want to cut normal people’s benefits.”

An Atos spokeswoman said: “We fully respect people’s right to peaceful protest and we understand this is a highly emotive issue.

“We do not make decisions on people’s benefit entitlement or on welfare policy.

“But we will continue to make sure that the service we provide is as highly professional and compassionate as it can be.

“At Atos we have proudly supported the Paralympics movement for a decade.

“We hope people will view the Games, as we do, as an opportunity to celebrate sporting achievement.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pension, said: “Locog and the International Paralympics Committee make all decisions on sponsorship for the Olympics.

“All the partners provide vital funding without which the Games would not happen and they operate in the supplier guidelines.

“It’s disappointing that DPAC are protesting against sponsorship of the Paralympic Games, which is an opportunity to showcase the talents of disabled people and act as a catalyst for our sporting talents of the future.”

Derby Telegraph

Comments
  • DAVID A SHAW August 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Was the ATOS spokespersons nose getting longer as they spoke ?

  • Andrew Healey August 29, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Actually Atos don’t stop benefits, they just lie through their teeth and commit massive fraud when filling out their reports telling the D.W.P that obviously sick and or disabled people are fit to work, all so that Atos can fill their corrupt bank accounts with even more British Taxpayers money. It’s all part and parcel of the massive corruption that is now the British Political arena, none of it is fit for purpose. Also thanks to two recent TV documentary’s millions have seen how truthful and compassionate these Bastards are. If only the great British public would sit down and think for themselves Baa Baa we could be out of this mess tomorrow and all the guilty locked away for a long time where they belong, behind bars..

  • You must be logged in to comment. Log in
%d bloggers like this: