Disability activists hijack Paralympics for Atos protest


Disability activists hijack Paralympics for Atos protest

Karl Flinders

Disability activists intend to protest against Olympic sponsor and IT supplier Atos Origin for the way it carries out work capability assessments.

Activists say Atos mistreats disabled people when assessing them for disability employment support allowance. Atos uses Logic Integrated Medical Assessment' (LiMA) software through its healthcare arm to support medical professionals when assessing claimants.

A year ago, two Atos Healthcare employees were investigated over remarks made on Facebook about the people they assess for sickness and disability benefits.

Last year, a critical report from a House of Commons Select Committee found that tens of thousands of sick and disabled people had been wrongly declared fit for work by the French-owned outsourcing company. 

At the time, appeals were estimated to have cost the taxpayer around £50m a year, said MPs.

An activist group campaigning for better treatment of disabled people, Black Triangle, is pursuing a campaign against Atos and the DWP.

An activist, writing for the Guardian, said: “The French IT company's sponsorship of the Games is, in short, beyond irony.

"But Atos is simply doing the government's dirty work, enforcing George Osborne's £18bn welfare cuts, the government's response to a financial crisis caused by the banking sector.”

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