Debate on Atos in chamber of House of Commons now likely next month ~ Michael Meacher MP

Michael Meacher MP

By Michael Meacher MP 

Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton

December 5th, 2012

I am very pleased that the Back-Bench Business Committee of the Commons, from whom this week I sought an early debate on the appalling injustices of the Atos work capability assessments, has told me that “it is keen to see a debate on this issue, and so hopes to allocate time in January 2013″.

I hope therefore in the next month to be able to collect the fullest dossier I can not only of examples where the system has patently failed, but also of statements of how the system should be reformed, not only in technical application but radically.  

It is perfectly clear that though the first two Harrington reviews  may have produced some minor improvements in procedure, the fundamentals of the system remain intact, indefensible though they are.  

There is still an urgent need for a much more profound, and whollly independent, inquiry into the principle of forcing people off benefit or drastically cutting benefit at a time of near-record unemployment on the grounds that despite intense disabilities they can still find work.

The latest DWP figures show that 145,000 out of 431,100 Incapacity Benefit claimants – a third – whose assessments were completed between October 2010 and February 2012 were found fit to work.  

Since the total number of persons on Incapacity Benefit was 1.5 million, this suggests that if the same pattern of results continues, the total found fit to work will be about 500,000, including 140,000 who have been claiming Incapacity Benefit for more than 10 years.

It means that their benefit will be cut, in the case of a single person, from £100 a week to £71, and they will be continually pressured to get work as happens to all persons on job seeker’s allowance, even though there are now on average 8 persons chasing every vacancy and as many as 20 in some areas of the country.

I have been sent an excellent critique of the failings and harshness of the present system by a resistance group appropriately named on their website as , and it ends with the following quotation which is so fitting I repeat it again:

“When my constituent, who has lost his job because he has motor neurone disease, scores zero on his WCA and is found fully fit to work, there is something wrong with the system.  

“When that same constituent appears in front of a tribunal and in less than 5 minutes is awarded 15 points, there is something wrong with the system….

“When someone with a severe illness has to fight for a year through an appeal to get the correct benefit, only to be called in almost immediately for another assessment, there is something wrong with the system.”

I think this coming debate will show that these experiences are widespread and that the call for reform is irresistible. 

See also on Black Triangle: 

Epileptic Colin Traynor, 29, had massive seizure and died 3 months after DWP/AtoS ‘fit-for-work’ ruling ~ Michael Meacher MP

9 thoughts on “Debate on Atos in chamber of House of Commons now likely next month ~ Michael Meacher MP

  1. Andrea Salgado says:

    It´s not just being called back for assessment shortly after winning an appeal, they are beginning me on a second round of ATOS assessments and I still have not been contacted at all about my appeal for the first assessment. Talk about backlog!

  2. jed goodright says:

    reform maybe the long term answer – the WCA and ATOS should be stopped NOW

    Nobody voted for genocide

  3. Jan Tchamani says:

    Thank you. The high numbers of people being forced off benefits they are entitled to resulted (according to DWP figures) in 1200 deaths within 6 wks of the person losing their benefits during 2011. The figures for 2012 will be higher: stories of suicides abound as people become terrified, depressed and without hope. Scotland has set herself free from ATOS. When will the rest of us be free from them?! Every day that goes by, dozens of people are being pushed further and further to the fringes of society – and these are full human beings, not ‘problems’. We know what the Government thinks of us, and it’s as if they wish we would all just go away or die. What they want is not people but ‘economic units’, so how about helping us to become economic units in the proper sense of the word? There are many different ways to ‘enrich’ a nation. Give us our freedom to self-manage, give us our security and our independence. Then sit back and see what a fantastic contribution we can make to the quality of life of this nation! We are gentle and humble – that doesn’t mean ‘walk all over us’ – it means ‘learn from us’.

  4. jeffery davies says:

    debate micheal it should be closed down immeadiately and thrown out with big fines for their treatment of the sick and disabled but nah its still rolling on killing more micheal open your eyes further and see you half way there just open some more and then you will se atos is killing us while lying about it also its not to be trusted even the dwp who have caught this lying game nah show them the door not talk about them macheal jeff3

  5. Lainey Nic says:

    The whole system is full of holes. I have been put in front of 2 tribunals and lost both. I have complex heart problems and am awaiting surgery, diabetes, bowel disease diabetic retinopathy and much much more. My second tribunalwas awful I was huiliated and treatedlike a second class citizen. I was asked hypothetical question that was of n0o relevance = bearing in mind hyperthetical could mean I am fir and well and can do anything. The Dr was rude and arrogant and spoke to me as if I had trod on me on his way in. I was shell shocked by the experience and am still reeling for the way I felt that day. The DWP are not much better they ignored the fact my gp did not send a letter from the consultant cardio thoracic surgeon which held vital information about me. They stillclaim they may a fair assessment. You can’t coplainj against them and if you challenge the decision its a waste of time. I never asked to be ill or to be diasabled it has happened and I can’t change it. I really wish that comon sense would prevail when making decisions because the wrong one ruins peoples lives. I salute Mr Meacher I just hope your voice is heard because mine isn’t.

  6. Jim Ross says:

    Isn’t 73 deaths a week from this ATOS nightmare enough? When do we, as human beings, wake up and finally put an end to this madness?

    I agree the system needs overhauling, but NOT at the cost of genuine claimants being otherwise “racially cleansed” as it was called in the 1930s – because no matter which way you cut it this is what is happening now!

  7. Melanie Ratcliffe says:

    If we are unfortunate enough to fall into any of these catagories then we are treated with contempt by many and even despised by others, simply because we are unable to work,therefore we are classed as a burden on society and on the Govts finances. Why don’t they go the whole hog and just call us all parasites publicly and have done with it? At least then we would really know what we were up against..
    The ‘Atos Process of Eradication’ as I call it, is a joke! starting with the endless application forms to the ‘Interrogation Stage’ Which when summoned to attend the Assessors smile and act friendly and say they are not there to trick you but really you have been under scrutiny even before you have struggled to walk across their staff only car park, where unsurprisingly they have no provisions in place for disabled to park. the questions asked have no relevance to your disability or illness, are often misleading and they are deliberately asked in such a way that they try and confuse you. If you ask if your companion can take notes on the assessment they refuse and if you insist they say they can stop the assessment which in turn could reduce your benefit so you yield and have no proof of what was said or how they conducted themselves.
    I am sorry to say this and some may scoff but after reading everything that has gone on recently it seems nothing short of trying to ‘Cleanse’ society of the poor, vulnerable, elderly, or disabled people and this reminds me so much of what Adolf Hitler tried to do. Something which this Country vehemently stood up against and said No! you will not persecute or oppress or eradicate people less fortunate..
    but what now? What is next on this Governments agenda, concentration camps and gas chambers perhaps? or are they secretly hoping that even more people will store their tablets up and use them when the time comes.. I also salute Michael Meacher and as someone said in a previous comment, I sincerely hope that his voice will be heard as thousands of ours go un-noticed.

    1. Jim says:

      I take my hat off to you, Melanie. You have enforced what I said above your comment. It is good to know there is someone out there who is like-minded. Let us hope we can stop this insanity before it travels too far and “racially cleanses” even more genuine people.

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