MP of the Year award attacked over harmful corporate sponsor. Time for a campaign to remove it?

It seems the only element likely to stop Jeremy Corbyn from winning the Patchwork Foundation’s MP of the Year award is the fact that it is sponsored by corporations that have contributed to the oppression of the poor and vulnerable. Mr Corbyn is on the shortlist of MPs for whom the public is asked to vote. But some supporters of the former Labour leader – including his own former Shadow Chancellor – are having nothing to do with it because it is sponsored by firms including KPMG. The controversy sprang…

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What did we expect? Benefit assessors haven’t progressed towards improving safeguards for the vulnerable

This should make your blood boil. Yes, there’s a crisis going on involving the coronavirus pandemic. That shouldn’t mean work on other life-threatening issues should stop. And this is a life-threatening issue. Jodey Whiting is only the most well-known among many people who have died because the Department for Work and Pensions ignored its own rules for safeguarding vulnerable people. And now we find that after an entire year, the companies involved in assessing people for disability benefits have made no progress in improving their safeguarding procedures. None at all. Last…

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Firms that falsified thousands of benefit assessments set to get contracts to falsify thousands more

Can anyone think of a single rational explanation for the plan to renew the contracts for Atos and Capita to carry out assessments of sickness and disability benefit claims? Between them, over the last two years, these firms deliberately falsified around 7,300 claims in order to deny disabled people vital payments, forcing them towards poverty and the worsening of their conditions. Who knows how many of these people have been induced to end their own lives as a result of this discrimination? But instead of penalising the perpetrators by removing…

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After all these years, the DWP is still trying to convince us that amputated feet heal

Repeat a lie often enough, and people will believe it. That’s what the Tories think. Right? But it’s quite difficult when we’re being told that this has healed: Tommy Weir’s leg was amputated due to a bone infection which led to life-threatening sepsis. But – no worries! – the DWP told him that the amputation was just a wound on his left foot. Not only that, but the report claimed it had “completely healed” – and cut his Personal Independence Payment. Weirdly, a spokesperson for Independent Assessment Services Ltd (formerly Atos),…

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Tories pressurised benefit assessment company to find sick claimants fit for work, says doctor

Let’s be fair: The Conservatives put Atos under immense pressure to find claimants ineligible for out-of-work sickness benefits. Disability News Service attributed the pressure to the Department for Work and Pensions but, like all government departments, it only carries out the orders of the government of the day. DNS stated that a new document unearthed by the family of Michael O’Sullivan, a disabled man who took his own life after being found unfairly fit for work, shows that a doctor working for the private firm Atos, contracted to carry out benefit…

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Are PIP assessments being botched because they are being rushed by government contractors?

Both Atos and its employer the Department for Work and Pensions say there is no pressure on employees to carry out Personal Independence Payment assessments quickly. But the average time taken on assessments, which varies widely across the whole of the UK, not just in the southeast of England (the example below), suggests a ‘postcode lottery’ in which a claimant’s chance of getting a good assessment depends on where they live. We know that large numbers of these assessments are flawed – consider this court case in which Atos had…

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Disability benefit assessors hired ‘security guard’ to beat up claimant’s husband

This is scandalous on several levels. A government-employed benefit assessment company hired a man to assault the husband of a benefit claimant and then denied responsibility for the injuries that resulted. Firstly, Independent Assessment Services (you know this company as Atos), hired a “security guard” to remove Keith Langham from an interview about his wife Karen’s PIP assessment after an incident at a previous meeting. Secondly, this man refused to identify himself, making it possible for his employers to disassociate themselves from him. But then, what would he be doing…

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Data shows multiple complaints made against scores of PIP assessors

This information is worth having – not necessarily for what it says in its own right – but certainly because of how it could reflect on the current PIP reassessment. It seems to me that reassessors would do well to check the identities of the Atos/Capita staffers who carried out the original assessments. It would be useful to see if particular assessors were responsible for more people being denied benefits, and if they were assessors about whom complaints had been made. Sure – it’s entirely possible that only one per…

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Sickness and disability benefit assessments: Has anything changed in the last five years?

The video clip below resurfaced on This Writer’s Facebook page today; apparently I posted the link to it five years ago. Has anything changed – other than the fact that Atos has been joined by Capita in carrying out the assessments? Comments from people who have had assessments recently will be illuminating, I think. Vox Political needs your help! If you want to support this site (but don’t want to give your money to advertisers) you can make a one-off donation here: Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the…

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Court orders Atos to pay disabled woman a derisory £5,000 over dishonest PIP assessment

Only £5,000? This was an opportunity to make an example of those who have been abusing the disability benefit system for too many years – and the courts have not taken it. A larger, more punitive award would have sent a much stronger message – especially if other people who have been similarly wronged are lining up to fight their own court battles. A court has ruled that a disabled woman should be awarded £5,000 compensation by the government contractor Atos, after a dishonest report by one of its assessors…

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