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Disability campaigners target benefit assessment centre

Wolverhampton protest makes a stand against 'fit to work' tests

by John Millington

Disability rights campaigners protested outside the Atos assessment centre in Wolverhampton yesterday, calling for fairer treatment of disability benefit claimants.

Protests took place across Britain against the “fit to work” assessments that the government claims helps disabled people into employment.

But protester Bob Williams Findlay, a Wolverhampton University equality training officer, said: “The system used by Atos only measures certain aspects of someone’s capability to work.

“Some people with disabilities like me can work but only when a good employer addresses their needs.

“Atos is making huge profits. The system needs changing not the welfare state.”

And Wolverhampton TUC secretary Nick Kelleher said people who had lost their benefits in some cases were now relying on charities to survive.

He said: “Some people in Wolverhampton who appealed a decision by Atos have been waiting a year. They have no benefits and are relying on food banks.

“People should be assessed on their abilities and needs and given help to live their lives as best they can.”

Mr Kelleher said the government was intent on cutting the benefits bill but insisted it was a small percentage of overall spending.

He added: “They should be going after big companies that don’t pay their fair share of tax.”


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