‘Campaigners’ fury as controversial disability test company Atos set to land huge £40m profit’
Atos will land the windfall from just one contract for testing disabled people in the North and Scotland to see if they are fit to work
The company spearheading a Government crackdown on disability benefits is in line to pocket a huge £40million profit.
French firm Atos will land the windfall from just one contract for testing disabled people in the North and Scotland to see if they are fit to work.
And the company is set to make tens of millions more from a second deal covering Southern England.
Capita won a third contract.
Atos have landed the work despite fury over the way that they have been passing people with severe medical complications as fit to work.
More than 30 people judged by the firm to be well enough to get a job have died while appealing against the rulings.
Now they have been hired to help test two million people on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to see if they should be on benefits.
Labour MP Tom Greatrex, who has campaigned against Atos, said:
“This is a further slap in the face to thousands of sick and disabled people.
“Far from making Atos compensate the taxpayer for the millions it is costing to clear the mess Atos leave behind, it appears the Government are happy to send more windfall profits their way.”
The new tests come as ministers phase out the DLA, worth an average of £71.84 a week, and replace it with Personal Independence Payments.
An Atos Risk Management Plan, seen by Labour MPs, reveals they expect to make £40,535,679 on the £206m contract if they hit targets for the North and Scotland.
Even if they miss targets, they will trouser £28,636,419 by 2017, enough to pay a year’s disability allowance for 7,664 people.
Labour’s Anas Sarwar said:
“Some of the most vulnerable people in our communities are being targeted by these tests while big business reaps huge profits.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: “This is a new approach working with regional providers for a service which best meets local needs.
“Atos were chosen following the usual procedures for open and fair competition.”
An Atos Healthcare spokeswoman added:
“All our contracts are competitively tendered by the Department for Work and Pensions and are subject to strict Government procurement rules.”
We smell hypocrisy somewhere. What’s that about continuing to cut ‘welfare’ under a post-2015 Labour administration? After the 2013 cuts – what will be left to cut?