Labour says "fitness-for-work" test on disabled benefits are a "disgrace"

  • Liam Byrne, shadow work and pensions secretary, says that fit-to-work test would "have to stay" under a Labour government but the current assessors Atos gets "too many" tests wrong and delivers "poor value for money".

    The French IT firms, Atos, are paid by the government to carry out "work capability assessments" for people who are applying for sickness benefit employment and support allowance, also including people who were previously on incapacity benefit.

    In July the firm was told to improve its services by MPs due to an "unacceptable reduction" in the quality of its written reports.

    Speaking to Labour activists in Brighton Mr Byrne said: "I say to David Cameron, Atos are a disgrace, you should sack them and sack them now."

    But he added: "We need a system that delivers the right help to the right people, so assessments have to stay."

    An Atos Healthcare spokesman said: "We do everything we can to treat people with sensitivity and compassion." Reports the BBC.

    Mr Byrne said that disabled people were "threatened by hate crime, by Atos and by the bedroom tax". He said that Labour would "change the law so hate crime against disabled people is treated like every other hate crime."

    Earlier this year, police, prosecution and probation inspector warned that victims of disability hate crime were being let down and attacks were not being recorded properly.

    Image source: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/83361

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