Today’s the day, people! It’s time to show the government what you think of its new Work Capability Assessment company – Maximus.
Demonstrations against the American insurance provider, which is said to have a long history of denying the existence of medical disability in claimants (in order to avoid paying out on claims), are taking place up and down the United Kingdom.
This writer has been asked to mention the campaign outside the Atos/Maximus assessment centre on St Agnes Road, Heath, Cardiff CF14 4YJ, taking place between 1pm and 4pm. Readers from Cardiff or parts nearby are urged to go along and show the strength of their feelings about this firm.
The main demonstration is in London, at the address in the image at the top of this article.
In Edinburgh, it is at Argyle House, 3 Lady Lawson Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9SJ.
Maximus has been hired by the Coalition Government after ending the contract with Atos due to “significant quality failures”. The contract is worth no less than £595 million over three years – nearly £200 million per year. No doubt public sector employees could have provided the service cheaply and more efficiently but right-wing ministers like the Tories always prefer contracting-out; it means they have someone to blame when things go wrong.
The company has a history of ending lawsuits against it in the USA by making out-of-court settlements costing millions of dollars, with the most notable plaintiffs being the US government in a case involving falsified Medicaid claims, and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a case involving disability discrimination.
Claimants of sickness and disability benefits in the UK are deeply distressed that their government should be insensitive enough to hire such a firm – the message it sends out to vulnerable people is that the government is happy to renege on its duty of care, when the message should be that vulnerable people should be able to rely on the support they deserve.
Remember, people suffering from long-term illnesses and disability have paid their taxes and are entitled to the benefits funded by those contributions.
So please, whether you are a benefit claimant yourself or are able-bodied but concerned, please consider attending at a location near you. The full guide to events is on DPAC’s (Disabled People Against Cuts) website.
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