Category Archives: ESA/Atos

Just For The Record, The WCA Is Not Being Scrapped, Yet

atoskillsgrafThe report in The Daily Record which claims that Atos style assessments for sickness and disability benefits are to be scrapped should sadly be treated with caution.

There is no doubt that the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is in chaos, after the announcement from Atos that they are pulling out of the contract to run the tests.  This has led to a predictable tantrum from Iain Duncan Smith, who is now running round telling everyone he was going to dump Atos anyway and is threatening them with huge fines.  This is the same Atos that he is dependent on to sort out the shabby assessments for Personal Independence Payments, which are currently also mired in chaos.  But there has been no announcement as yet that the WCA is to be scrapped, and the report the Daily Record’s story seems to be based on does not call for this.

The story refers to the recently published response by the Government to the review of the Work Capability Assessment carried out by Dr Paul Litchfield.  The Government have accepted all but one of the recommendations in this report, which includes agreeing to carry out an impact assessment into whether in some cases a decision could be made without a face to face assessment.

Litchfield recommends: “The Department carries out a full impact assessment on an alternative process whereby DWP Decision Makers triage cases” and that “where suitable and sufficient evidence is available on paper and a face-to-face assessment would provide no additional value, the Department should make a decision without referral to its HAP;”

The Government have responded: “DWP will carry out the recommended impact assessment to inform decisions about if and how triage of cases by Decision Makers might be implemented.”

So unless the Daily Record know something that no-one else does, and if they do urgent clarification is required, that unfortunately, appears to be it.  An impact assessment into whether in some cases a face to face assessment is not required – as in fact already happens in some cases – will be carried out.  A small step forward perhaps but a long way from the claim that assessments are set to be scrapped.  Atos still kills, for now at least.

Some of Litchfield’s recommendations will be welcomed, such as a six month time limit before someone who has recently won an appeal against a WCA decision can be called for re-assessment.  Others are more dubious, including the idea of involving the Government’s snake oil salesmen, the nudge unit, in the drafting of correspondence sent to claimants about the WCA.

Perhaps the most telling part of the Government’s response to this review is the recommendation that is rejected.  Litchfield makes the fairly reasonable suggestion that so-called Healthcare Professionals carrying out assessments of people with mental health problems should have: “suitable and sufficient previous experience of dealing with people with mental health problems”.

We’re not having that say the DWP, who have deferred agreement on this point complaining that they don’t know what suitable and sufficient means.

All of the recommendations and the Government’s response can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/296328/wca-review-year-4-response.pdf

Litchfield’s initial report is at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/265351/work-capability-assessment-year-4-paul-litchfield.pdf

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Iain Duncan Smith Should Be Put On Trial Over The Work Capability Assessment Deaths

atos_kills_bannerThe tragic death of severely unwell Mark Wood, who died of malnutrition just five months after he was found ‘fit for work’ by Atos and the DWP, was not just ‘wrong’ as the Government have today admitted – it was grossly negligent.  Whether this negligence was criminal must be urgently investigated.

Morally, and almost certainly legally, the DWP have a duty of care when making decisions which can potentially devastate the lives of those called  ‘vulnerable adults’ by care professionals.  The Work Capability Assessment, which led to the death of Mark Wood, has already been found unfair for people with mental health conditions in the courts.  Instead of halting the assessments based on this judgement, Iain Duncan Smith has brushed it aside – convinced he knows better than the courts, the medical establishment and the thousands of sick and disabled people themselves driven to despair by the current system.

Mark Wood’s death is far from the first linked to welfare reforms.  A recent report by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (PDF) highlighted another suicide which they found was directly linked to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).  In a damning report, the charity surveyed 56 psychiatrists who had treated patients facing one of these crude, computer based assessments.  Their findings are both horrifying and desperately sad:

“85% of the 52 respondents to this question told us about an increased frequency of appointments. 65% had at least one patient who required an increased dose of medication and 35% reported at least one patient who had changed medication. 40% had at least one patient who had self-harmed after the WCA. 13% of respondents reported that a patient had attempted suicide and 4% (two RMOs) stated that a patient had taken his/her own life. 35% said that at least one of their patients had been admitted to hospital as a consequence of the WCA and 4% told us about a patient being detained under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.”

The Work Capability Assessment must be brought to an immediate halt.  Even the company in charge, the notorious Atos, finally seem to have realised this, confirming this week they will pull out of the contract early.  This is the only way to stop any more deaths, and it needs to happen now, as in this week.  Otherwise more people will die.

It is no longer enough however to call just for the Government to scrap every aspect of the bungled and brutal welfare reforms that are destroying so many lives.  People are dying in one of the richest countries in the world as a direct result of this horrifying attack on the very poorest people.  The politicians in charge know this, but are happy to let these deaths continue as part of the ideologically driven obsession with proving that people on benefits are scroungers or fakes and that unemployment is caused by unemployed people.

According to the Daily Mail, David Cameron has backed an urgent review into the Work Capability Assessment.  This review should not just look into the failures in the process but assess whether negligence has taken place and if so who is culpable and whether criminal charges can be brought.  If Iain Duncan Smith. Atos or the DWP, can be put on trial over these shameful deaths it will not bring anyone back.  But at the very least it will send a message to every politician, today and long into the future, that the UK’s legal system will not tolerate reckless cost-cutting experiments that put human lives at risk.

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Huge Victory For Sick And Disabled Claimants As Atos Chased Out Of Vicious Benefit Assessments

atoskillsgrafFrench IT firm Atos saying they are planning to pull out of Work Capability Assessments, the shambolic and cruel tests designed to strip away benefits from sick and disabled people, is the most humiliating blow yet for Iain Duncan Smith’s bodged attempt at reforming social security.

In a stunning victory for campaigners, Atos say the Work Capability Assessment isn’t working, for them, claimants themselves and even the hapless DWP.  The attempt at early withdrawal from the contract comes just days after protests were held outside Atos assessment centres in towns and cities across the UK.

The astounding announcement also sheds new light on The Guardian story which revealed that the DWP were secretly plotting to get rid of Atos and bring in new contractors to run the tests.  There is truly no honour amongst these thieves as Atos and the DWP bicker in public about who dumped who first.  Meanwhile poverty pimps like Capita and G4S will be salivating at the prospect of Iain Duncan Smith stuffing their mouths with gold to try and keep his bungled welfare reforms alive.

Atos has blamed abuse and death threats made towards their so-called ‘healthcare’ professionals as one reason they want to withdraw from the contract early.  Yet Atos must have known that taking on a contract designed to impoverish sick and disabled claimants would lead to them becoming despised.  It is no surprise that a very small number of people facing the WCA displayed what social workers call ‘challenging behaviour’.  Any social care professional or even copper could have warned them  about this.  If Atos were unable to put in policies and procedures that kept their staff safe then they only have themselves to blame.

When people have been driven to suicide by the vile activities of this company, their whining about few scabby doctors being slagged off on twitter rings a little fucking hollow.  The truth is that Atos have seen their brand made toxic all over the world by their involvement in these tests – which only represent a very small part of their business.  This is almost certainly the real reason they have decided to embarrass the DWP by very publicly trying to abandon this contract.

This announcement does not represent the end of the WCA, but it could be the beginning of the end.  Anything that at least slows the bastards down should be welcomed.  This victory should be used as a springboard to escalate the campaign against whichever odious profiteers decide to take over the hated WCA.

If Atos think they are off the hook however they are sorely fucking mistaken.   There has been no announcement from the company about their involvement (along with Capita) in assessments for Personal Independence Payments – the replacement for Disability Living Allowance designed to cut benefits from 20% of disabled people.  These tests have barely begun and already are a shambles with claims taking months on end to administer.  It will be those in and out of work alike who face these assessments which are little different from the WCA that Atos have just condemned.  If the company think they’ve had problems with out of work sick and disabled people just wait and see what happens when they are assessing lawyers, other doctors, and even MPs.

Atos are also expected to be involved in George Osborne’s mass workfare scheme which begins in April.  Claimants already found ‘fit for work’ by Atos could be abused by company again and forced to undertake 780 hours of unpaid ‘community work’ just for the crime of being unemployed.

Atos may be on the run, but they should be ruthlessly chased down until they pull out of all government contracts designed to bully, impoverish and harass sick, disabled or unemployed people.  Until that day comes, Atos should remain firmly in the firing line.

DPAC, Black Triangle & WOW Petition: Joint Statement on the Bizarre ATOS Exit Strategy http://dpac.uk.net/2014/02/dpac-black-triangle-wow-petition-joint-statement-on-the-bizarre-atos-exit-strategy/#sthash.Yq28TezO.dpufFollow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Don’t Blame Us For The Suffering We Cause Say Atos, We’re Just Making Money

atos-bannerPoverty profiteers Atos have published a whining blogpost asking for people to blame the Government, not them, for the shambolic and cruel assessments for sickness and disability benefits.

The statement comes in advance of a day of action tomorrow which will see protests outside Atos assessment centres throughout the UK.  The company, who have made hundreds of millions out of welfare reform, yet still pay no fucking tax, have pleaded:  “Atos Healthcare has no control over welfare policy, the design of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), or the specific eligibility criteria for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).”

Not for the first time, the excuse I was only following orders has been replaced with but I was only trying to make money.  It is  truly a sign of the times that a company like Atos would even dare attempt this as a justification for their vile activities.  There was a time, when war profiteers and others who made money exploiting human misery, were the lowest of the low.  Now simply having lots of money in itself is seen as a moral virtue, no matter what you did to get it.

The Work Capability Assessment is making people’s health worse and has led to an increasing number of tragic suicides.  Atos cannot simply wash their hands of this by claiming they’re only in it for the money.  And neither can their so-called healthcare professionals who are all breaking the fundamental medical principle of ‘first do no harm’.

Atos are fully culpable for their actions and their pitiful whinging should be treated with the contempt it deserves.  Their bosses are lucky not to be facing trial along with Iain Duncan Smith and his murderous henchmen at the DWP.

Join the Day of Protest Against Atos tomorrow and show the bastards what you think.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

No More Deaths! Join The UK Wide Day Of Protest Against Atos On Wednesday February 19th

atos_kills_bannerSomeone recently commented that there was once a time when a government policy which led to spate of unintended deaths would have been halted to find out what the fuck was going on.

Yet the death toll linked to the horrific Atos run Work Capability Assessment grows ever higher with a spate of tragic suicides reported throughout December.  Life is cheap under neo-liberalism and neither the Tory Party, or Labour – who merely say they will replace Atos but the assessments will continue – are opposed to this terrible regime facing sick and disabled claimants.

Barely any of those found ‘fit for work’ by Atos have actually found jobs, despite Iain Duncan Smith’s magical Work Programme.  The number of successful appeals against decisions made to throw people off benefits remains sky high.  The stress and suffering caused by Atos is more than well documented by hundreds, if not thousands of people on the internet.

Atos once pretended to be one of those fake-fluffy IT firms like google or twitter but are now famous for cruel incompetence.  It has only been the hard work of sick and disabled claimants themselves that has made this happen.  The pressure must be kept up and all of those who want to live in a fair and humane society should join the fight to rid ourselves of these private sector parasites and bring the Work Capability Assessment to an immediate end.

A day of action against Atos is taking place this Wednesday 19th February.  Protests are taking place in towns and cities across the UK including Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester, Croydon, Hull, Birmingham, Truro, Portsmouth, Edinburgh, Wimbledon and many more.  To find a protest near you visit: http://ukrebellioncom.ipage.com/atosdemo/

In Central London protesters will gather outside Atos’ gleaming corporate headquarters in Triton Square near Euston from 10am, more details at: https://www.facebook.com/events/675411662480344/

Please share, blog and tweet details of all events.

And if you can’t make the nearest one to you then @Atos are on twitter where they’ve been unfairly neglected recently.

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RIP Tim Salter and Denis Jones. Is This What You Wanted Iain Duncan Smith?

Iain-Duncan-Smith415Ever since this Government weren’t elected the question has been raised whether Iain Duncan Smith really is a murderous tyrant, or whether he’s just a fucking idiot.

The truth is that it doesn’t really matter anymore.  The end result of his policies will be the same whichever is the case.  A result as tragic as it was predictable, as poverty not seen in generations returns to the UK.

The recent case of Tim Salter, who committed suicide after benefits were stopped due to the brutal Atos assessment regime, is far from the first death directly linked to welfare  reforms.  At the end of last month two suicides linked to Atos assessments were reported in just one week. Also reported just before Christmas was the death of Denis Jones, a disabled former soldier who died alone five weeks after his benefits were stopped.  Whilst his death was recorded as natural causes a close friends has revealed the horrific circumstances he had been living in, telling the Bolton News that:

“He was dependent upon income support and without it he couldn’t heat his home or pay his electricity bill. He became dependent on food parcels and the generosity of friends but he was crushed under the pressure of it all.”

It is not just the growing number of deaths linked to welfare reforms which gives a glimpse of the terrifying future many of the poorest now face.  The use of foodbanks has rocketed over recent months, even prompting a parliamentary debate from the ever opportunistic Labour Party.  But all of the main political parties, and the Lib Dems, are committed to the demolition of social security, they are merely quibbling about the details.   This is why the largest cause of hunger in the UK – benefit sanctions which can leave people with no money at all for up to three years – have barely been mentioned by any politician.  The reason for this is that Labour are every bit as committed to benefit sanctions as Iain Duncan Smith.  They started it after all.  Things will not magically and suddenly be alright if the Labour Party manage to win the next election.

The appalling truth is that the entire political class seems to have started believing everything they read in the Daily Mail.  The lurid tales of benefit scroungers have been assumed to be a fair representation of the social security system instead of the warped delusions of the swivel-eyed right.

The impression has been given that welfare in the UK is so generous that vicious cuts can be made without anyone getting hurt.  Politicians and right wing newspapers alike have created the fabrications that claimants are living in the lap of luxury, sick or disabled people are probably faking it and that there is a plentiful supply of jobs and cheap housing for those who choose to look.  The reality – which is that those dependent on benefits were already living in desperate poverty even before the cuts – has been completely ignored in the savage chase to blame the poor for the economic crisis created by the rich.

Over the next year, as bungled welfare reforms take place in the most casual and haphazard manner possible, we are set to see the outcome of this manufactured contempt for the poor – and it really has only just begun.  Many people are dependent on discretionary housing payments to meet the shortfall in their income due to the benefit cap or bedroom tax.  These payments will run out soon.  The number of benefit claims sanctioned is likely to soar even further as ever more ludicrous conditionality is invented to claim the pittance of Jobseekers Allowance. Reform of Disability Living Allowance, which will see around a fifth of disabled people lose benefits, has barely even begun.  The Atos assessments will continue, and even those judged unable to work may still face workfare.  Possibly hundreds of thousands of claimants face court action due to Council Tax benefit reform.   Housing Benefit caps are fast making many cities completely unaffordable for the poor.  And next April, as food prices, fuel bills, fares and rents continue to soar, all claimants, including many of the poorest pensioners, will face a real terms cut in benefits.

The only question that now remains is just how bad are things likely to get?  How many people will lose their homes, how many thousands, or millions, of children will go hungry?  How many more heartbreaking deaths will occur like the ones we heard about throughout December?

Iain Duncan Smith either doesn’t care or is truly deluded about the consequences of making the poorest even poorer.  Despite talk of austerity, the rest of the cabinet seem to think that money falls from the sky, which it does if you happen to be George Osborne or David Cameron.  No-one in this Government, and few in Parliament, seem to have any understanding that money actually runs out if you happen to be poor.  To take away the last few pounds that someone needs to survive will not just make them hungry, desperate and depressed but could be a death sentence.

This inhumanity, in one of the richest countries in the world, must be brought to an immediate end.  A massive escalation in the fight against all welfare reforms is the only way to achieve that.

If things seem bleak that’s because they are.  But Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms are as bodged as they are brutal.  Without the connivance of charities, functioning welfare-to-work companies, employers, health and social security professionals, housing associations and local councils, all of his policies could turn to dust.  There are many places to inflict pressure or just fuck shit up.  Every weakness in this Government’s plans must be exploited to the full, and new vulnerabilities uncovered.  And every time we find one we should be ramming a spanner in the works, until things start to break.

Stay strong next year, as healthy as you can, and most of all stay alive.  Do not give these bastards what they want.

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DWP Lose Again: Atos Assessments Do Discriminate Says Appeal Court

atos_kills_bannerThe DWP have suffered yet another humiliating legal defeat after Appeal Court judges upheld a decision that the Atos assessments for sickness and disability benefits discriminate against people with mental health conditions.

This follows an earlier decision by the Upper Tribunal in January that the Work Capability Assessment – the notorious computer based test which has led to hundreds of thousands of claimants declared ‘fit for work’ – substantially disadvantaged those with mental health problems.

Rather than accept this judgement and attempt to make the process fair, the DWP chose to appeal this decision and carry on as normal.  As ever, this didn’t work out well for them and yet more tax payer’s money was wasted only to end in embarrassment for the department.

A press release from the Mental Health Resistance Network released today explains:

“During a four day hearing in January 2013, the Upper Tribunal heard evidence from the 2 disabled claimants, from mental health charities, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and the National Autistic Society, as well as from the Government about the operation of the Work Capability Assessment , and the experience of people with mental health problems going through the process. In May 2013, having weighed the evidence, the tribunal concluded that the process substantially disadvantaged those with mental health problems . This was for two main reasons: first because the application process and the face to face interview can be particularly distressing and confusing for those with mental health problems; and second because of the great difficulty that many with mental health problems have in explaining their condition, which increases the risk that the benefit will be wrongly refused.

To remedy this disadvantage, the claimants, supported by the mental health charities and by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, argued that where ESA applicants have mental health problems, the DWP should consider obtaining medical evidence from the claimant’s doctor or psychiatric team at every stage of the process, and if a decision was taken by Atos or the DWP not to ask for medical evidence, this would have to be justified at each stage. This approach followed a recommendation made in November 2012 by Professor Malcolm Harrington, an independent reviewer of the process appointed by the Government.

The Government refused to implement this adjustment because it argued that the system did not discriminate against people with mental health problems. As stated above, the tribunal disagreed. It ruled that the adjustment to the process recommended by Professor Harrington might be a reasonable response to the “substantial disadvantage” it had found, and urged the Government to carry out a trial to see if obtaining further medical evidence earlier in the process would make the process better for people with mental health problems. Once the new process was trialled, the tribunal asked the Government to return to court for a hearing about whether – in light of the trial – the adjustment was reasonably necessary.

Instead of accepting the tribunal’s findings, and conducting an urgent trial, the Government appealed to the Court of Appeal against the tribunal’s finding of “substantial disadvantage”. It also argued that the two claimants did not have the right to bring the case because they themselves had not been adversely affected. Today the Court of Appeal rejected the Government’s arguments on both these points. In giving the main judgment of the court, Lord Justice Elias stated that:

“the Tribunal identified various ways in which [Further Medical Evidence] would assist [people] with a range of mental disabilities, and in my judgment there was sufficient evidence to justify the conclusion that [mental health patients] were placed, as a group, at more than a trivial disadvantage”.

The claimants solicitor, Ravi Low-Beer of the Public Law Project, stated:

“It is regrettable that the Government chose to appeal against the tribunal’s finding that people with mental health problems are disadvantaged by the current system, rather than take the steps necessary to improve it. Now that the Court of Appeal has upheld the tribunal’s finding, we sincerely hope that the Government will take immediate steps to improve the system. Disabled people, charities and many others are only asking the Government to implement the recommendation of the independent expert the Government itself appointed. This has been delayed since May 2013 while the Government appealed. It should not be delayed further.”

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Second Suicide Linked To Welfare Reform Reported This Week: RIP Victor Cuff

atos-paralympic-protestAnother tragic suicide has been reported which appears to be linked to the brutal Work Capability Assessments used to strip people of benefits by declaring them ‘fit for work’.

According to South East London newspaper, the News Shopper, Victor Cuff, aged 59, hung himself in May after his sickness benefits were cut.  The newspaper reports that Mr Cuff had previously had suffered from depression and an inquest into his death heard that he had been “feeling down” and was having money problems after his sickness benefits were reduced.

This is the second suicide linked to withdrawal of sickness benefits which has been reported in just one week. On Monday the Bristol Post featured the story of Jacqueline Harris who took her own life after being found ‘fit for work’ resulting in her benefits being slashed.

Anyone who claims these suicides are not linked to welfare reforms has probably never been poor.  The trauma of poverty can be devastating and perhaps the worst part is looking to the future and seeing little way out.  For those suffering from depression – and many people without any money end up suffering from depression – the feelings of hopelessness can be even more acute.  People on sickness benefits were poor already.  To make them even poorer, via a system of inhuman and crude  computer based tests, is breathtaking cruelty.

Attitudes towards mental health are hopefully slowly changing.  Several high profile people have spoken out about their own experiences and been well received by most of the public.  There is no doubt that this has helped remove some of the stigma associated with mental health.  But sadly this seems to only apply to the rich or famous.  The same newspapers who praise the bravery of well known personalities like Stephen Fry and Alistair Campbell accuse poor people with mental health conditions of being scroungers and benefit scum.

Few people are depressed enough to qualify for sickness benefits anymore.  The vicious regime run by French IT firm Atos has declared hundreds of thousands of people with mental health conditions ‘fit for work’, often even against the advice of their own doctors.

One of the most serious symptoms of depression is suicidal thoughts and behaviour.  Not everyone will report these to the Jobcentre, and even if they do they are unlikely to receive any real support.  They certainly are unlikely to get their benefits back, which is what they need.

It is hard to imagine a more callous system than one which requires people who claim they are feeling suicidal to prove it, often at a series of repeated assessments.  Yet that is the way people with no money now face being treated if they expect to be able to eat whilst they manage their condition.  These deaths are far from the first tragic events linked to welfare reform and sadly they will not be the last.

(above pic from a memorial service held by disabled campaigners outside the offices of Atos, the company responsible for carrying out the Work Capability Assessment)

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Another Tragic Atos Death: RIP Jacqueline Harris

atos_kills_bannerA woman stripped of benefits after being found ‘fit for work’ by Atos has taken her own life the Bristol Post have reported today.

According to the newspaper: 

“PARTIALLY-sighted and only able to walk with the aid of a stick, Jacqueline Harris suffered crippling pain due to slipped discs in her back and neck. Her mobility was reduced further when a dog savaged one of her wrists.

“Despite being in agony which strong pain relief could not ease, the 53-year-old was deemed to be fit for work following a government health assessment and told to find a job.

“Her sister claims the verdict that she was ineligible for disability benefits drove her to take her own life earlier this month.”

Predictably both the DWP, and Atos have attempted to wash their hands of the affair.  There will be no apology for this tragic loss of life and Atos claim it is nothing to do with them: “we do not make decisions on people’s benefit entitlement, nor are we involved in the appeal process.”

If this were a banker, or businessman who had been driven to suicide over a Government policy then this story would be on the front page of every newspaper.  When a yuppy jumps out of a skyscraper, or a celebrity has a breakdown, we are all invited to share in their tragedy.  The rich ‘feel’ things more than the poor the media narrative suggests.  Meanwhile reports of suicides due to welfare reform are shrugged off by right wing newspaper columnists as the “act of someone in a fevered, unstable state of mind.”  If the poor cannot cope with their poverty then that is a personal failing, not a problem with how society is structured.

Only the wealthy might be troubled by losing their income – the horny-handed working class are expected to get on with things, make do and mend, or queue outside foodbanks with a stiff upper lip.  Hunger and homelessness is just a triviality compared to a dent in the investment portfolio or having to sell the second home.

When campaigners have warned that Atos Kills this has not been hyper-bole.  The problem is that the ruthless assessments for sickness and disability benefits kill the wrong people to have any major media impact.  There is more sympathy for the squeezed middle-classes having to cut down skiing holidays than there is for people driven to desperate acts due to having nothing at all.  Atos merely culls in the eyes of this Government and those who support them, and many of them see nothing wrong with that.

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Atos Paid No Tax In 2012 Despite Boss Earning £2.3 Million

atos-black-triangleFrench IT firm Atos, the company paid hundreds of millions to carry out the brutal Work Capability Assessment, paid no Corporation Tax in the UK last year the Daily Telegraph has revealed.

The company, who also have a string of other public sector contracts and have recently been invited to bid to part-run George Osborne’s mass workfare scheme, claim to have made no profit in the UK in 2012.  Yet boss of the company, Thierry Breton, was recently discovered to have been awarded a £280,000 pay rise during the same period – meaning his annual salary package is now worth an astonishing £2,329,250.

Atos are not the only company with their snouts in the public sector trough who have given nothing back.  The notorious and allegedly fraud ridden G4S also paid no Corporation Tax in the last year.  According to The Telegraph, the company appear to justify this by saying they paid around £400million in PAYE-related taxes.  This is a common excuse from the bosses of tax dodging multi-nationals and it is contemptible, as if it is them, and not their employees, who are paying this tax.

The figures came to light after a National Audit Office (NAO) report which revealed that the four biggest public sector contractors – Atos, G4S, Serco and Capita – received around £6.6 billion from public sector contracts in 2012.  To place this figure in context, that is around one and a half times the annual bill for the main unemployment benefit Jobseekers Allowance.  Almost half a billion of that came from contracts with the DWP which merely exist to bully and harass those out of work and little else.  All these contracts have been a disaster, from the bungled Work Capability Assessment which has seen hundreds of thousands of wrong decisions over-turned on appeal, to the equally bodged Work Programme which is performing worse at getting people into work than doing nothing at all.

Osborne’s latest workfare plans alone are expected to cost another third of a billion pounds.  Still these companies are being handed huge sums of tax payer’s money.  Much of that will end up in the pockets of bosses like Thierry Breton.  Some will be squandered on incompetence such as the Olympic Security farce.  If the investigations into Serco and G4S’ probation contracts are anything to go by then some of it will be stolen outright.   And now it seems almost nothing will come back to the tax payer as they whinge that they haven’t made enough money and so can’t afford to pay tax.

Claimants who take a few quid off the state to stay alive due to sickness, parenthood, unemployment or disability are immediately judged to be benefit scroungers.  Steal a couple of billion and the cunts will probably give you a knighthood.

The NAO Report can be read at: http://www.nao.org.uk/report/memorandum-role-major-contractors-delivery-public-services/

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