ATOS protest in Derry

PINK LADIES PROTEST. . . .The Pink Ladies Support Group's 'Fight Against Cancer Poverty' protest outside the Social Security Agency's Medical Assessment Unit on Strand Road on Wednesday evening. Included in photo are the Mayor of Derry, Councillor Martin Reilly, local councillors and support local trade unions. DER3013JM41
PINK LADIES PROTEST. . . .The Pink Ladies Support Group's 'Fight Against Cancer Poverty' protest outside the Social Security Agency's Medical Assessment Unit on Strand Road on Wednesday evening. Included in photo are the Mayor of Derry, Councillor Martin Reilly, local councillors and support local trade unions. DER3013JM41

A protest has been held outside the Derry offices of ATOS - the private company behind the Social Security’s work capability assessments (WCA).

Organised by cancer support group The Pink Ladies, yesterday’s protest is the latest in a series of protests outside the company’s Derry base.

Speaking to derryjournal.com after the protest Sinn Fein Councillor Kevin Campbell said WCA is “simply not working.”

“Sinn Féin has warned from the outset about the problems the introduction of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) would create for people in Derry on Employment and Support Allowance and Incapacity Benefit.

“We highlighted fears over sick and disabled people with long term debilitating illness having to be reassessed and the impact that would have on them, the financial cost of administrating this new benefit and the probability of high rates of appeals.

“A lot has been made about streamlining the benefits system, simplifying the system and cutting costs. But the evidence we are getting from our constituency offices in Derry, welfare rights workers, charities for the disabled is that the new WCA is simply not working.”

He continued: “In Derry and across the North we are seeing already a high number of appeals being lodged by those turned down for the benefit and a very high number of those appeals have been successful. In response to a recent question put to the Minister of Social Development it was revealed that it cost £5.97 million to review just over 17,000 cases, that works out at an average of £350 per appeal.”