IT appears Atos’s “humiliating” assessments insisting that Brian McArdle was no longer eligible for any disability benefits sent him to his grave.
THE harrowing letter from 13-year-old Kieran McArdle is enough to break the hardest Atos heart.
Kieran has blamed the humiliating assessments for a new disability benefit for the death of his father Brian at the age of 57.
The test of whether disabled claimants are eligible for the new benefit are well known to be flawed and blunt instruments for measuring each person’s individual disability.
Now it appears Atos’s “humiliating” assessments insisting that Brian McArdle was no longer eligible for any disability benefits sent him to his grave.
It is the kind of letter that should make Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith hang his head in shame.
The former Tory leader has posed as some kind of compassionate friend of the poor since his so-called “road to Damascus” conversion to the effects of poverty.
Duncan Smith pitched up in Easterhouse in Glasgow once and was shocked by the poverty he saw.
He didn’t seem to realise that what he had witnessed was the legacy of 18 years of Tory government that sent Easterhouses all over Scotland and England into a
downward spiral of joblessness.
Easterhouse has moved on since then – and is well rid of Duncan Smith, who has turned his donkey around and is hightailing it back from Damascus as fast as he can.
He has become as heartless as the company assessments that force the permanently ill back to work.
No one across the political spectrum disagrees with the proposal that those who can work do so – and that the bill for welfare must be brought down.
But the system the Tories have chosen, using the private French company Atos, is as cruel as it is hopeless.
The assessments simply do not take into account people’s individual disabilities and cause huge anxiety and strain.
That was enough to kill one man, and break his son’s heart.
That’s too high a price to pay for welfare reform.
It is the tests that needs reform, not the people they are applied to.