Proved: It costs more to hire private firms to run hated disability benefit tests than they save

Atos and Capita make millions in fees under the scheme overseen by Tory Damian Green [Image: Getty].

Last year, the BBC told us the government had not saved any money on disability benefits – despite doing its best to throw vulnerable people off the books – because of “rising costs”.

Now we see that the principle cause of those “rising costs” appears to be the increasing price of paying private firms to run the hated work capability assessments – the fake tests inflicted on the sick and disabled in order to find an excuse to stop their benefits.

And of course we should also remember the soaring cost – to the Tory government – of successful appeals against decisions to deny or remove the Personal Independence Payment (among other benefits) from claimants.

The whole system would be a joke – if people weren’t dying because of it.

As it is, the evidence shows a clear need to reassess (ha ha) the whole assessment system, asking what it aims to achieve, whether it achieves its aim and (if not) why not.

Don’t expect it to happen during a Conservative government, though – they’re far happier letting private companies rip off the taxpayer than they would be if they had to allow genuinely needy benefit claimants to have the cash they deserve.

Private firms are set to be paid millions more than the original budget for running the Tories’ hated disability benefit tests, it can be revealed today.

Outsourcing giants Atos and Capita have been paid £578 million so far for assessing people for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) since it launched in 2013.

Yet original contract documents estimated the work would cost taxpayers £512 million over five years.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams accused the government of “rewarding failure”, adding: “It is clear that these costs are spiralling out of control.”

Source: Private firms rake in millions more than budget for Tories’ hated disability benefit tests – Mirror Online

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13 thoughts on “Proved: It costs more to hire private firms to run hated disability benefit tests than they save

  1. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7)

    The welfare contractors are making a king’s ransom, in effect stealing ‘blood money’ from genuine sick and disabled people in the U.K.

    Since I began campaigning on Twitter, I’ve been steadfast in my belief that the assessments are a sham, purposely designed to strip the majority of benefits from sick and disabled people. The assessment firms (Maximus and Atos are both discredited outsourcing giants; the former has a checkered past) are merely the henchmen of the DWP, who oversee the contracts and created the descriptors that they employ. The application and appeals process for benefits are hurdles or barriers designed to frustrate and discourage claimants from receiving lifeline assistance from the DWP. There are lengthy and complicated application forms to fill out and a plethora of problems associated with mandatory reconsideration, as detailed in this article: The Problem with Mandatory Reconsideration http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/library/by-az/problem-with-mandatory-reconsideration.html

  2. Jeffrey Davies

    It was never about saving monies but how best they can get their grubby hands on it

    1. Zippi

      My mother had her bus pass taken from her (I can’t remember when ) but was given taxi tokens, instead but only a handful, (£30-worth, for which she had to pay £5, plus £2.50 for delivery, which is great if you have mobility issues) not nearly enough to get her to her doctor’s appointments and her physio appointments, that’s before you think about shopping for food, medicine, or, just to get out and see other people.
      It’s no surprise, at all, that these agencies cot more than they save and are not fit for purpose. Did this nonsense not all start under Tony Blair?

  3. marcusdemowbray

    What I do not understand is that Privatisation and Outsourcing have for YEARS been proven to be an expensive failure, yet the Tories continue with them, and now pump even more money into them.

    Is this because they are so wedded to their own dogma? Is it because they are too scared to admit that they were wrong? Is it purely to get all government work into private, mostly foreign hands (many of which pay little or no UK Tax on their huge profits) in exchange for donations and “Revolving Door Career Opportunities”? Or is there some other reason?

    It is so obviously NOT good for UK to be giving so much to foreign corporations and not even bothering to ask them to pay a fair Tax bill, so why does it happen? There must be a reason.

  4. Rusty

    This was never about saving money, this was about outsourcing contracts to their friends and backers! Tory policy, money from the poor to the rich!!!

  5. Lee Teale

    But the money goes to their friends who bung the Tory liners and keeps people in down it’s a disgraceful big American accountances firms cost the NHS fortunes again back handers to the torys

  6. Dez

    I guess the first issue was that they do what they normally do and that is lie about the potential facts…bit like winning the election. If they published the facts nothing would get off the ground for them. When you have bloated overpaid Board members who want something for doing not very much then the layers of management and admins all hangers on taking their cuts of course it’s going to be uneconomic because you have still got to show a good profit. That’s why the smaller carer firms are better at home care than the megga grabbers as they have little baggage and not so greedy. Unfortunately our County decided to consolidate the carers into the big boys only club and the little guys fell by the wayside…..and now usual accountants head up backside situation oh it’s costing us and arm and leg…..Duh!

  7. Justin

    Does this figure take into account the tribunal costs, the costs when someone like me complains against as assessor or decision maker, the costs of a tribunal against a assessor, there few and far but when they happen they are not cheap, then there is another cost, the cost to the nhs when a bundle of incompetence makes a wrong assessment and the person goes back into the system, depending in severity that is minimum 650 per week and can go from two weeks to months without taking the aftercare aspect on, these are all obvious things except if your a thick tory, who has to be told this at a review and it will be interesting to see if there is a ounce of intelligence that say’s someone has pointed out the obvious, Don’t wait for the paint to dry on this one, it is to easy to be understood by people that live in a different planet!

  8. Liz Douglas

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0502srz Two private companies tasked with carrying out assessments for Personal Independence payments – the benefit replacing Disability Living Allowance – will be paid millions of pounds more than the value of their original contracts.

    Stephen Crabb, former work and pensions secretary, says the government needs to look at what kind of profit these companies are making. Debbie Abrahams, shadow work and pensions secretary, hits back arguing the cost per assessment has increased so his claim is absolute rubbish.

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