PLUS SPECIAL READING OF OUR FAMOUS PANTOMIME ‘DICK WHITTINGTON AND HIS WORK CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT, OR THE COMPUTER SAYS NO’ !
A national day of action has been called on Monday 2nd March against Maximus, the private company which is taking over running of the despised Work Capability Assessment for sickness and disability benefits. These crude and callous assessments, introduced by Labour, have been used for years to strip benefits from hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people after a quick computer-based test rules them ‘fit for work’. The evidence of GPs and health care professionals is ignored. Even the terminally ill can be dragged from their deathbeds to be tested.
The last figures released by the DWP in 2012 showed a massive increase in deaths among those who had recently come off disability benefits. A growing number of suicides have been directly linked to the regime of tests and sanctions. Many people have been left destitute and hopeless, because being found ‘fit for work’ just drives people onto the dole queue, with no guarantee of them finding or keeping a job.
To justify their actions, the millionaires in government and the media have tried to denigrate those most in need, in language reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. As a result, disabled people and their families have become targets of abuse and some have even been physically attacked.
American firm Maximus has been involved in forcing people off benefits and into workfare in the UK since they were appointed by Labour to operate the infamous New Deal. Like many private firms paid billions to take over the work of public services, Maximus had a history of complaints including accusations of fraud and theft, bad working practices and failure to deliver to service users.
Now Maximus is taking over the WCA from poverty pimps Atos with a lucrative £500 million contract. They are inheriting the offices and systems and even the medical director of Atos. New clowns, same old circus…
Maximus were the very first private provider Brighton Benefits Campaign picketed in March 2010, and we were involved in the campaign against Atos, which led to that company asking to be released from its contract early. Maximus is boasting they won’t be driven out in the same way. We’ll see about that!