Docstoc

Disabled activists and UK Uncut occupy DWP in protest against Atos and government welfare cuts

Document Sample
Disabled activists and UK Uncut occupy DWP in protest against Atos and government welfare cuts Powered By Docstoc
					http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/blog/disabled-activists-and-uk-uncut-occupy-dwp-in-protest-against-atos-and-government-welfare-cuts




Disabled activists and UK Uncut occupy DWP in protest
against Atos and government welfare cuts
Posted on Fri 31st Aug 2012, 2:37pm
Press enquiries:
UK Uncut: Tel: 07415063231 | Email: ukuncut@gmail.com | Email:
mail@dpac.uk.net

Disabled activists and UK Uncut have occupied the Department
for Work and Pensions in a surprise secret action and have
blockaded the doors.

This daring and disruptive protest is in reaction to the
government’s welfare cuts and the £100 million a year contract
given to the Paralympic sponsor Atos to push sick and disabled
people off benefits.
This comes after it was announced this morning that Cecilia
Burns, a cancer sufferer, who had her benefits cut by Atos and
told her she was fit to work, has died 1.1.


Disabled People Against the Cuts 1 and UK Uncut 2 began their
protest at Atos’ headquarters in central London in an event
dubbed ‘The Closing Atos Ceremony’ 3, but as all attention was
on Atos, a small group of activists moved into position at DWP.
Hundreds of disabled people and their supporters from the first
protest at Atos HQ are currently making their way by tube, bus
and taxi to join the disabled activists at DWP. This spectacular
day of action is the grand finale to a sustained week of protests
against Atos 4 , timed to coincide with the first week of the
Paralympic Games.

The two groups have targeted DWP to highlight that Atos is being
paid to do the government’s dirty work. Activists inside the
building are demanding an end to Work Capability Assessments,
that Atos’ contract be terminated, and that the government
reverse its cuts to welfare provision.

Atos are employed by the government to conduct Work Capability
Assessments on sick and disable people. Their testing
programme has come under fierce criticism. The British Medical
Association 5, disabled people, and MPs 6 have all demanded
the tests be halted immediately.


A recent episode of Dispatches 7 revealed Atos staff being
pressured into unfairly declaring people ‘fit for work’ in order to
fulfil targets set by the government. The government are aiming
to cut nearly 20% from the welfare bill, despite the government’s
own figures showing less than a 0.5% fraud rate and clear
alternatives like clamping down on tax avoidance.8
Lydia Foxton, a spokesperson from DPAC said:

‘We have been targeting Atos, but they are just doing the
government’s dirty work. Cutting welfare is devastating people’s
lives and removing dignity, security and independence from
thousands of sick and disabled people across the country. At the
same time, David Cameron and his government are using the
Paralympics to show themselves to be champions of disabled
people, it’s a disgrace.’

Sam Kennard, a spokesperson from UK Uncut said:

‘The government have been making huge cuts to welfare
provision, even though their own research shows that less than
0.5% of welfare claims are fraudulent. They are making disabled
people a scapegoat for the economic crisis – they are being
punished with welfare cuts, while the banks and the big
businesses are getting off scot-free. The government could clamp
down on tax avoidance and get back billions, the savings they will
make from cutting welfare do not even come close, and they are
devastating people’s lives.’

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Stats:
views:34
posted:9/5/2012
language:English
pages:4
Description: Disabled activists and UK Uncut have occupied the Department for Work and Pensions in a surprise secret action and have blockaded the doors.