The organisation which has smeared thousands of disabled people in the UK by declaring them to be incorrectly claiming Incapacity Benefits is, would you credit it, sponsoring next year’s London Paralympics.
As you know, the French firm, Atos Healthcare, has assessed 1.3million people on IB and concluded that 150,000 of them were capable of working. However, on appeal, vast numbers of decisions have been overturned because of incompetence and target hunting by the company. A Commons select committee has said that Atos Healthcare's “unacceptable” errors had cost the country over £30million.
Quite rightly disabled campaigners are threatening to boycott of the Paralympic Games because of Atos's involvment in them. Clearly a company which causes so much distress to so many sick people is not appropriate for this kind of deal. The very notion that they are pouring money they have taken from us as taxpayers for making a mess of disabled people's rights, and putting it back into the games in the expectation of some sort of kudos, is sickening.
Atos , of course, seemingly living in some parallel universe where costing the UK £30 million because of ineptitude is of no import, and making disabled people's lives hell as they struggle through appeals for money which was always there's by right is a small operational matter, say that they are proud of their work conducting "objective assessments" and proud of their role as a sponsor for the Games. Well, they must be the only ones.
Worse than just being a sponsor is the fact that the man who, until recently oversaw this shambles,
was last month appointed to the board of the International Paralympic Committee. The IPC said Monsieur Bernard Bourigeaud was a long-time supporter of the Paralympic movement and that his knowledge and experience would be of great benefit to them "going forward". Not going back then, that's a start. Stupid expression!
John McArdle, a well known disablement campaigner, has called Atos’s involvement an “insult” and I couldn't agree more. Yet another nail in the coffin of this ill-judged vanity project that is the London Olympic Games and Paralympics.