Published on Oct 7, 2012 by norris nuvo
On Saturday October 6th at 11am, protesters from the Cardiff division of the campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), descended outside the premises of the Co-operative bank in Cardiff High Street.
In a unique demonstration of solidarity that the satirical musician ‘Weird Al’ Yankovich would be proud of, a mock memorial service was held, complete with a variation of the popular Anglican Hymn “To God Be The Glory” (now re-worked by DPAC Cardiff called “To ATOS, no glory”) that mockingly ‘mourns’ the loss of the Co-operative group’s ethics having hired, since 2009, the controversial French IT firm and Paralympics sponsor ATOS, which is accused of being responsible for the deaths of more than 70 disabled people per week, from the “unfit for purpose” Work Capacity Assessments that were launched by Labour and now continued by the UK Coalition Government.
· Atos, a French IT company, were awarded a £400 million contract by the DWP to continue ‘work capability assessments’ on Atos software declaring disabled people ‘fit for work’. Atos’ annual revenues are EUR 5.1 billion.
· Atos’ real purpose is to strip benefits from as many disabled people as possible.
· 70-90% of Atos decisions declaring disabled people as ‘fit for work’ are overturned on appeal with representation.
· The Atos testing system has led to 32 suicides/deaths per week or at least 13,284 deaths and suicides since they began testing.
· The British Medical Association have demanded that the WCA should be ended with immediate effect.
· Atos profits from destroying the rights and lives of disabled people with its own workers describing Atos’ regimes as ‘toxic’.
· A Channel 4 undercover investigation revealed that Atos sets its assessors “targets” to reject the benefit claims of 7 out of every 8 claimants.
· This is despite benefit fraud costing the taxpayer only 1% of the cost to the taxpayer of tax avoinance/evasion by the wealthy. Disability benefit fraud is a tiny fraction of the total benefit fraud.
· Showing breath-taking disregard for the numbers of disabled people whose lives are being destroyed by Atos, the Welsh Government recently signed a £70m contract with Atos to provide IT services until 2019.
· Tribunals hearing appeals against Atos decisions to stop claimant’s benefits cost the taxpayer £50 million a year.
· Atos decision-makers (who are seldom doctors nor qualified disability specialists) are not required to attend appeal tribunal hearings nor justify their decisions to stop or deny a disabled person’s benefits. The National Audit Office has identified serious failings in accountability of Atos by the DWP.
· The mark of a civilised society is how well it addresses the needs of its most vulnerable members. By this measure the UK can not call itself civilised.