LETTER: Vulnerable must be protected

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I would like to express my support for the letter from Jackie Little concerning the welfare report in the March 19th edition of the County Times.

Atos Healthcare conducts assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

We should be outraged that Atos is profiting from denying those who are sick or live with disability, the very benefits they need to survive and maintain their level of health.

At a protest outside Atos headquarters, a number of people spoke about their experiences of the examination, being denied benefit and having to appeal to get it back. One woman testified that her brother, who had severe depression, committed suicide after being cut off. Please see:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/video/2011/may/11/disability-protest-atos-origin-video

The media have exposed more of the dire consequences of Atos’ decisions.

The County Times was absolutely correct to highlight this serious issue. The Coalition Government must answer for this disgraceful situation and for its callous attitude towards sick and disabled people in the forthcoming election.

This amounts to privatisation by the front door, and the increased use of this type of privatised service and the keenness to extend this type of privatisation, by the Conservative and Liberal Democrats must be opposed by all of us.

It is no use the Liberal Democrats distancing themselves from these decisions; they like the Conservatives were in Government and this happened under their watch; how can we trust a Conservative Party which too easily cuts services to the most needy and vulnerable and another party the Liberal Democrats who hold their hands up and say ‘not our fault’.

A civilised society not only cares for the most vulnerable but protects them also; at least in the Labour Party we have always believed and fought for this basic principle.

MARTYN DAVIS

Labour parliamentary candidate for Horsham, c/o Wimblehurst Road, Horsham