Labour calls on PM to 'sack' benefits test company
The company that carries out "fitness-for-work" tests on disabled benefits claimants is a "disgrace" and should be sacked, Labour has said.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said the tests would "have to stay" under a Labour government.
But he told delegates at the party's conference that current assessors Atos gets "too many" tests wrong and delivers "poor value for money".
The company defended its "professional and compassionate" service.
The French IT firm is paid by the government to carry out "work capability assessments" for people applying for the sickness benefit employment and
support allowance, as well as people who were previously on incapacity benefit.
It was told to improve its services by MPs in July after an "unacceptable reduction" in the quality of its written reports.
BBC News - Labour calls on PM to 'sack' benefits test company bbc.in...
Ema Hackett, 24, has a mid-range disability and is unable to work. A trained graphic designer, she has Hypermobility Syndrome which makes her joints
abnormally flexible. She lives with chronic pain and also suffers from mental health problems.
She has a carer who comes in once a day to help with household chores and cook her dinner.
In the past three years, she has twice been rejected for full sickness benefit following assessments and twice she's successfully challenged the
decision through Atos' internal appeal system.
"It feels like not only am I fighting my body to get up every day, but I'm also fighting the system to get the money I need just to exist.
"I don't have a frivolous life. I don't really ask for much - I just want enough to live a normal life.
"The letters from the Department for Work and Pensions come in a brown envelope with a certain address on the back. Any brown envelope I look at the
back and if it's from the Department for Work and Pensions, I'm scared."