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Protest on disability testing

By West Briton  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

Protesters make their case at Pydar House in Truro.

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DISABILITY rights campaigners protested outside Pydar House in Truro at an "unfair assessments" process aimed at getting people back to work.

A small, vociferous crowd on Friday targeted IT firm Atos, which carries out 'fit for work' assessments for the Government.

Campaigners, led by members of the Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance, claimed tests for people on disability allowances were unfair, "damaging and distressing".

They joined demonstrations across the UK to coincide with the Paralympic Games, of which Atos is a sponsor.

Chris Gibson, from the alliance, said: "They make no reference to GP notes, or medical condition. They are subjective tests to assess disability.

"They work to a management target which means 86 per cent of cases have to fail. Forty per cent then win on written appeal, which goes up to 70 per cent when people attend in person."

Victor Godfrey, 45, from Truro, has Asperger's syndrome – a form of autism – and faces an anxious wait for a forthcoming tribunal after Atos rejected his appeal for disability allowance.

He said: "I feel very angry. I don't know what more they can do for me. I have been on several training and work programmes but nothing has ever come of it."

The Government – which makes decisions based on Atos assessments – said it was trying to control the cost of disability allowance, with more than £600 million a year going on overpayments to people who no longer qualify for the level of benefits they receive.

Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance and Trade Union co-ordinating committee is staging its next meeting at the British Rail Club, next to Truro train station, at 7.30pm on Tuesday.

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