More than 500 people rallied outside the
offices of Paralympic sponsor Atos in central
London this afternoon as part of a day of
action called by Disabled People Against Cuts
(Dpac) and UK Uncut.
Protesters included disabled people threatened
with losing their benefits, Remploy workers
recently made redundant, alongside trade
unionists and Occupy London supporters who
showed up in solidarity.
Hundreds then went down to blockade and occupy
the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) at
Caxton House in central London.
They were protesting against the “work capability
assessments” that Atos carries out on behalf of
the government to push disabled people off
Caroline Butterwick travelled down from
Staffordshire university where she is chair of
“It’s really unfair that they’re kicking people off
their benefits,” she told Socialist Worker.
“It hasn’t happened to me yet, but it’s like a
threat hanging over us all. It’s not disabled people
who caused the financial crisis, so why should we
be made to pay for it?”
Tony Bradstock, who suffers from ME, had to fight a lengthy campaign to
win back his benefits after they were taken away by an Atos assessment.
“I’d like to see the whole assessment system scrapped,” he said. “It’s my
doctor who understands my health, not some stranger with loaded
questions and boxes to tick.”
Many on the protest were furious about the hypocrisy of Atos’s sponsorship
of the Paralympic Games.
“It’s a cynical attempt to cash in on a celebration of disabled people’s
achievements,” said TV actor and comedian Francesca Martinez, who has
“I hope people will see through the attempt to get positive publicity for a
company that’s causing death and misery across the country.
“So many of the athletes that David Cameron says are inspirational wouldn’t
have been able to realise their dreams without the state help he’s trying to
Earlier today, protesters heard the sad news that Cecilia Burns of County
Tyrone had become the latest person to die after being declared “fit for
work” by Atos.
She spent six months fighting to have her employment support allowance
reinstated, but died from her breast cancer a week after this happened.