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Having had time away to think about this, it has occurred to me that in discussing whether Labour is right to say it will fire Atos – or whether it will even fulfil that promise – we are barking up the wrong tree.
Atos does what the DWP tells it to do. We can all say it does this work very badly, but that would be splitting hairs. The orders come from the Department.
Getting rid of Atos won’t make any difference if the policy stays the same – and Labour’s record on social security has not been good since neoliberal ‘New Labour’ took office in 1997.
So I reckon more pressure needs to be exerted on Mr Miliband and his front bench, to expel all traces – not only of Atos, but of Unum, the real influence, and to put forward a new policy that is, above all, humane to claimants of disability/sickness/incapacity benefits.
What he says on this subject will be very interesting. But he must be pinned down.
No Atos – or any other unqualified overseers of our medical health.
Humane treatment for benefit claimants.
(And sack Liam Byrne!)