Home | Friday 15th April 2011 | Issue 767
BENEFIT OF DOUBT
Yesterday (14th) saw the 3rd National Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts, with demos in over fifteen cities centres up to Scotland and back. In Glasgow and London, demos also happened outside the ‘healthcare assessment centres’ of private French consultancy company Atos Origin, charged with (and charging for) booting people off incapacity benefit.
Their numbers were swelled by some of the disabled claimants facing the unsubtle Atos benefit review; a doctor-less questionnaire and ‘computer says No-oo’ process, heavily criticised by the Child Poverty Action Group and others as unfair and not based on medical opinion (er, no, being based as it is on taking £2.5bn off the poor to pay for bailing out the rich).
However, plans to stamp on peoples’ benefits aren’t going to ComDem plans: it’s worth remembering that in Scotland, success rates in appealing Atos decisions to throw people off the sick is very high – particularly for those taking legal advice. The Edinburgh Council’s Rights Office has been successful for 8-9 out of every 10 appeal tribunals they’ve been involved in, while the Citizens Advice Bureau say that 40% are successful, rising to 70% for those with legal advice.
* In Glasgow the demo was followed by an impromptu but spirited invasion of the nearby Daily Mail offices. See www.thecrutchcollective.blogspot.com
* For more on the demo in Islington, London, see www.demotix.com/news/657903/anti-cuts-demonstrators-picket-atos-healthcare