Demonstrate against ATOS at Halifax Job Centre on Weds 19th February

Calderdale Protest Against the Bedroom Tax is demonstrating against ATOS at 10am on 19th February outside the Job Centre at Crossfield House, St James Road, HX1 1YS and all are welcome to take part.

Protesters will gather peacefully at the Job Centre which is used by ATOS to carry out discredited Work Capability Assessments.

The demonstration is to oppose the reported ill-treatment by ATOS of those receiving sickness benefits. Anti-ATOS campaigners are calling for the abolition of the Work Capability Assessment which is not fit for purpose. They believe that a qualified medical doctor, ideally the GP who regularly sees and treats the sick or disabled individual in question, is the only person able to decide if an individual is fit for work.

Anti-ATOS peaceful demonstrations across the country will include a minute’s silence at 1pm to honour the victims of Iain Duncan Smith’s callous reforms.

On February 19th Natalie Bennett, Green party leader will be attending and speaking at one of the demonstrations taking place in London in support of the cause. Natalie said,

“ATOS’ activities in the UK are a further, dreadful, example of the government’s failed outsourcing experiment. They have inflicted misery and fear on millions of people, and this must end. The medical professionals who treat them are the people who should decide on individuals’ capacity to work. We shouldn’t be pumping public money into the private profits of this health multinational. And we should remember: behind ATOS is the callous government policy of cutting social security payments to vulnerable people. We must ensure everybody who needs social security payments receives enough for a decent quality of life.”

Labour MP Hilary Benn said:

“As the Labour opposition we have called ATOS a disgrace and said they should be sacked… The system needs to change.”

Caroline Lucas Green Party MP, Brighton and Hove said,

“Outsourcing the assessment of sick, disabled and vulnerable people to a private corporation, and especially one with such a disgraceful track record as Atos is disgusting…. Ministers have so far refused to take action to get rid of ATOS and their thoroughly discredited Work Capability Assessments. The day of action on February 19th is a chance to stand strong together against companies like ATOS until they are a thing of the past. I’ll be there and will do what I can to keep the issue alive in Parliament.”

In July 2013, ATOS whistleblower Dr. Greg Wood lifted the lid on the toxic culture that existed within the organisation – carrying out assessments that were not fit for purpose, with huge pressure on assessors to fail ESA claimants. Dr Wood was shocked by the ineffectiveness of the assessment procedure.
A report from the Centre for Welfare Reform showed that informal targets were being set by ATOS which had assessors under pressure to fail around 65 per cent of claimants.
On 4th December 2013 a Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling which found that,

“the process used to decide whether hundreds of thousands of people are eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) disadvantages people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and autism.”

Campaigners say that ordinary people have realised that the Government has no intention of stopping its cruel murderous attacks on disabled people despite the evidence that has been presented over the last 3 years clearly documenting the suffering and deaths caused by Work Capability Assessments and ATOS. The evidence of the suffering being caused has been presented by disabled people and their carers, MPs, journalists, Trade Unions and organisations such as BMA, Mind, Amnesty and the Autistic Society which call for Atos to be scrapped.

More info here and on the Calderdale Protest Against the Bedroom Tax Facebook group.

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