LABOUR MP Tom Greatrex and disability campaigners hit out after an astonishing 70 per cent of people put through Atos’s tests were passed as being fit or potentially fit to get jobs.
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BENEFITS cuts firm Atos have told almost 50,000 disabled Scots they will have to work.
An astonishing 70 per cent of people put through Atos’s tests were passed as being fit or potentially fit to get jobs.
Labour MP Tom Greatrex said:
“Too many people are being assessed by Atos as being fit for work when they simply aren’t.”
Atos were hired by the UK Government to help slash billions from the welfare bill.
Just over a quarter of the disabled Scots assessed by the firm have been passed as immediately “fit for work”.
That means they will no longer get incapacity benefit and will be expected to look for work.
A further 43 per cent have been told the clock is ticking on how much longer they will receive the benefit.
Only 19,330 Scots, or 30 per cent of the total, were passed by Atos as being genuinely unfit for work.
The figures were slipped out last night by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
They show that of the 65,430 Scots who had assessments completed by French IT firm Atos, 46,090 were told they were fit to work now or in the future.
The Work Capability Assessments involve benefits claimants having to complete a long questionnaire and attend an interview with an Atos employee.
Interviewees have their disabilities rated on a points system based on 17 different categories.
As reported in the Record, Atos’s assessments have been widely discredited and almost 40 per cent of claimants have had decisions overturned on appeal.
Greatrex, who campaigns on disability rights, added:
“When so many decisions turn out to be wrong, there is a concern whether many of the thousands who have been found fit for work after their Atos test are really able to take a job.
“The Work Capability Assessment should be helping people into work. But the examples the Record has highlighted over many months show in too many cases that people are being hounded in the worst
“Heartless Tory Minister Mark Hoban should focus on why there are so many successful appeals.
“When 40 per cent of the decisions appealed are wrong, there is something fundamentally flawed about his Atos tests.”
Richard Hamer, of Capability Scotland, said:
“These figures will not be a surprise to many disabled people and disability organisations who have been worried about the impact of Work Capability Assessments for some time.
“The assessment process has a poor track record with the high number of successful appeals suggesting a flawed system which judges that people are fit to work when common sense tells us they clearly are not.
“The other factor to consider is where this 70 per cent of disabled people are going to get jobs. There aren’t enough long-term sustainable job opportunities for disabled Scots and this is where the UK Government should be focusing their efforts, rather than forcing people into work.”
The DWP figures show that almost 180,000 people – 32 per cent – assessed so far have been told to go back to work by Atos. Almost 232,000 – 41 per cent – have been told to prepare for work in the future.
Employment Minister Hoban said:
“The old system condemned tens of thousands of people to a life on benefits, with little help to move back to work.
“Now people who can work will be given help to find a job. Getting the Work Capability Assessment right first time is my absolute priority and we have made considerable improvements to the process to ensure it is as fair and accurate as possible.”
Scottish Daily Record