I’m pleased that Ceredigion Citizens’ Advice Bureau is campaigning to raise awareness of the massive problems with disability benefits which have occurred since 2010.
The Coalition Government in Westminster gave the contract to carry out fitness for work assessments to the private company Atos, in an attempt to cut welfare payments. The company’s contract was terminated by mutual consent earlier this year after severe criticism of its performance. There is now a Government review of the system for checking if people are fit for work, and CAB is campaigning for a fairer system, which makes the right decision first time. More information about the campaign is available at http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/fitforwork.
I know from my own casework that there are huge problems with the way welfare reform is being implemented by the Westminster Government. Many people have faced real hardship due to the poor standard of the work done after the assessments were handed over to Atos. These problems are partly responsible for the rise in people using food banks across Ceredigion. I’m supporting CAB’s call for the Department of Work and Pensions to listen more to evidence from the health and social care professionals who know the claimants best, that the company running assessments is help accountable for poor service, and that ESA continues to be paid while claimants receive a second opinion on their application. At the moment, the system is failing far too many people in need.