Here We Go Again – DWP to Repeat the ATOS Disaster ?

I’m sure I’m not alone in being totally unsurprised, albeit sick to my stomach at the latest revelation to be leaked from Tory proposals for Benefits, the drastic cutting of  ESA; it appears that new claimants placed in  WRAG will only receive 50 pence a week more than JSA. This has led me to wonder if this extreme reduction has anything to do with the increase in the number of people claiming out of work sickness or disability benefits?

The fact the cut was ‘leaked’ on the same day, and to the same source as the claim, Maximus will be the company taking over the contract from ATOS, also leaves me unsurprised. I can imagine the key players from DWP and Maximus sitting around the table and plotting this decimation of ESA as a part of the contract. The key aim of Welfare Reform has always been to slash Benefits, irrespective of need, and now seemingly wants to privatise all out of work benefits; therefore given Maximus’ existing  involvement in running the Work Programme, and the new Health and Work programme  this pairing seems a perfect match.

However when John Pring initially suggested, Maximus was the preferred bidder to replace ATOS, he also revealed the company’s “chilling” record of incompetence, discrimination and alleged fraud“. Thinking back to when ATOS was initially awarded the contract for WCAs, there were similar concerns around the unsuitability of ATOS, and we all know the outcome of that appointment.

It appears the DWP have completely failed to learn from the ATOS debacle and is planning to enter into another disastrous contract with a seemingly corrupt company, all for Corporate Greed.  Further the DWP seems to be continuing the rhetoric of  blaming us being ill; refusing to acknowledge their attacks on poorest and most vulnerable people through both the continuing  scapegoating and their discriminatory Policies, are in any way responsible.

The ‘leaking’ of these two announcements today suggest the DWP are maintaining their insidious behaviour, softly ensuring their plans emerge into the public psyche in an attempt to build public support:

‘the poorest people are choosing the higher paying benefit to avoid looking for work, because  they are lazy, the DWP are doing the majority a favour by stopping these idlers take the easy option, and are bringing in a company who will stamp this out’

What can we can fight back against this? Johnny Void suggests we gather the information necessary to take Maximus out of the picture and I agree; but I also believe we need to demonstrate WHY sick and disable people need the extra money to survive, lets collect your stories that demonstrates precisely what we do with the difference between JSA and ESA, because if we don’t – We Will Lose it!

 

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21 thoughts on “Here We Go Again – DWP to Repeat the ATOS Disaster ?

  1. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating and commented:
    We have to publicise the fact that when the USA Welfare service appointed Maximus, it ended up with the US government successfully suing Maximus for disabilty discrimination.
    Whilst we all applaud the removal of Atos from the WCA program, I cant help think that its “Out of the frying pan and into the fire” for the UK’s sick and disabled now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Clutches of Maximus | DaveD's Blog

  3. There has been suggestions of showing how bad the company is to cause the same reputation damage to Maximus as happened to Atos.

    That has one HUGE problem… Atos actually has a rather good rep for other work it does, it is after all primarily an IT and services company, it was the DWP/IDS’s “intervention” in reworking the tests to exclude more people, and set higher “fit for work” targets that screwed the pooch (yes its test were never that good, but under the previous Lobour administration the targets were less onerous) so atos eventually decided that the lack of people prepared to do the work of WCA’s and all the bad press was hurting its other areas of work and so quit.

    Maximus just doesn’t give a shit, it has no “good rep.” In the US its been found time and time again to be, using a technical term, “doing illegal shit;” “acting fraudulently;” “getting paid for substandard work;” and it just doesn’t give a shit how bad its rep is, just as long as it gets paid and doesn’t have to refund to much when its found out. So no amount of badgering or articles showing its illegal activity will make any difference as it has no rep to live up to.

    The other issue is, if ATOS found it hard to keep staff numbers up (another reason for its quitting) as no one wanted to work for them… just where is Maximum going to get “trained” staff from. If, as i expect, Maximus was the only bidder and no one wants to do the work, or more correctly no one with a medical background or understanding of disabilities and sickness, just what level of incompetence or unsuitable staff is going to fill the void? Will Maximus “workfair provider” supply Maximus “WCA” with testers all paid via benefits? Imagine going for your WCA to find some poor sick person on JSA or ESA who has been mandated to do your test or else they will be sanctioned… while “unlikely” its not totally in the realms of make believe.

    I think the contract (which no doubt we will not be allowed to see) will both absolve Maximus of all liability’s in the future but will also expand the type of people doing the test to people with no medical training at all on the basis that the “interviewer” is just an extension of the computer tick box mentality of the test and as such can be a lowly pleb on minimum wage or even a workfair slave or teenage “apprentice.” I can almost guarentee that the contract will also “lock in” Maximus so that a Labour administration will either have to pay the full outstanding amount to kill the contract or even have to pay even more to get shot of them…. nicely lining up the incoming gov of a huge expense that will no doubt be used as a “see they waste money” series of articles in the Daily wail.

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  4. It should be remembered and the point should be made much of that JSA was never intended to support people for more than the (presumed to be) brief period they spent between jobs. It was never meant to support people over long periods of time, even when it was worth around twice in real terms to what it is now. It’s not enough.

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  5. There’s a lot of kite-flying of policies at the moment, and this latest proposal may be one of them. It is definitely cause for worry, and it illustrates the nefariousness of the government, which has long desired, for cost-saving purposes, to move sick and disabled people “parked” in the WRAG on to the regular jobseekers’ allowance.

    The government overspend on benefits is the likely reason why cuts to ESA recipients in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) are being considered. If this proposal is implemented, it would be major cause for alarm: it would further weaken the social safety net of disabled people and put their lives in jeopardy.

    Full disclosure: Since January 2012, I have been reporting voluntarily to the UN’s human rights office, in Geneva, on the welfare crisis for Britain’s sick and disabled.

    (Montreal, Canada)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am going through my 3rd ATOS assessement.
    I made an appeal that took over a year to go through, I’m now going through it all again for a 3rd time. My doctor gives me constant support. The DWP are losing my sick notes all the time and delaying my payments, also my housing benefit keeps getting cancelled. I’m currently on the £72 rate and can’t afford the supplements and aids I usually buy anymore. The doctor won’t prescribe be St Johns Wart anymore and I’ve been coersed into taking chemical anti-depressents. The NHS wont supply me with heat patches for my back when I know they really help me, I can’t afford to buy them on my current £72 rate. I can’t afford to heat my house or have hot running water, though I have difficulty keeping myself clean. I have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, IBS, a heart condition, back problems, advanced gum desease and other conditions. I feel persicuted for being I’ll and can no longer get support in appeals from CAB. I can only say, they want me to die, they are culling people like me. I hate this government and hope they have had enough rope to hang themselves as well as the house of lords for assisting them in their new immoral bills. I don’t understand how this coalition was ever legal, surely we should of had a revote. If they or UKIP get in next year, I only wish I’ll have the health to take revenge upon them in some way.

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  7. Also sick to my stomach Jayne. To me the Tories have provided an open goal here if only the Labour Party would take full advantage of it. After the public outcry against Freud’s disgraceful comments they could use this latest leak, coupled with the bad reputation of Maximus as ample ammunition. Trouble with Labour is that they’ve proven to only jump away from their Tory-Lite clinging once the wagon is rolling at full speed.

    I think you’re right, it’s very important to expose this on both fronts. As to demonstrating why sick and disable people need the extra money to survive, there’s likely as many reasons as there are disabilities and long-term illnesses. The immediate one that springs to mind is the increased energy bills. By necessity, most will spend a lot more time indoors. Public transport or walking any distance is often impossible, even for those not in receipt of DLA and with more trips to hospital and GP appointments it all adds up. As someone pointed out in the Guardian’s CiF today, the new regulations for those in the WRAG now apparently require daily visits to the Jobcentre, how much more cost does that add in?!

    Those with working partners will often have to pay prescription, dental and optician charges as well as full council tax. Some will require medical equipment or special diets that aren’t covered fully by the NHS. Others will need to top up other costs where cuts have already bitten, like additional hours for carers, housing benefit or bedroom tax.

    What I also believe needs to be challenged directly here, once again, is this right-wing mantra that creating money is the only thing that matters. What utter bollocks austerity is when money is suddenly available for wars, subsidies and tax cuts for the rich! This is what is underpinning the whole cycle of this hate-agenda and it ultimately allows them to devalue us all as human beings.

    In solidarity, JC

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    • The right-wing are leeches. we create wealth, they ponce it off the rest of us. That’s why they insist we create money, so they can take it. This is why Cameron got so upset at the riots, they broke the machine, the wealth-creating machine, he and his class ponces off. What we need to do is to starve them out without starving ourselves out. we need to create wealth we can use but they can’t. This was actually achieved at a small Austrian town called Worgl, a guy there created a system of voucher trading which enabled the locals to create and share wealth among themselves without having to use money. The idea was catching on but the banksters got their government catspaws to outlaw it. we need the same kind of thing to develop everywhere. We need local currencies, local food supplies. We should be working towards these goals.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on markcatlin3695's Blog and commented:
    Once again the DWP and therefore the Govt show in what utter comtempt they hold anyone in need. The absolute chaos and suffering caused by ATOS and the poorly planned and implemented welfare reforms. It’s never ending, any reasonable human would sit back and take stock of the mess the whole welfare system is in. Not DWP though straight in with yet another corrupt company paid millions to administer more pain to people. My disbelief and hatred of these people for their sheer inhumanity coupled with greedy incompetence goes up each day. Something needs to be done. I personally won’t be happy unless those responsible are hauled before the Haig for crimes against humanity. But somebody somewhere has to do something soon. The death-toll is rising.

    Liked by 1 person

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