Local Green candidate joins DPAC cuts protest

3 March 2015

Photo of DPAC protests against Maximus, including Chingford and Woodford Green candidate Rebecca Tully

On Monday 2nd March, Green Party candidate for Chingford & Woodford Green Rebecca Tully joined DPAC (Disabled People Against the Cuts) and other activists at a circus-themed protest outside the London HQ of Maximus. Serious concerns have been raised about the US company which this month is taking over WCAs (Work Capability Assessments) from disgraced “fit-for-work” test firm Atos (3). But despite assurances from the Department for Work and Pensions that the change means a “fresh approach”, there are worries that sick and disabled people will continue to suffer.

Two of the serious issues which have affected sick and disabled people since the outsourcing of WCAs include:

  • Excessively long waits: people must undergo fit-to-work assessments before they can claim ESA (Employment Support Allowance). While they wait, they survive on reduced benefits: some have waited for more than a year.
  • Assessment errors: many people have been assessed as ‘fit for work’ who later died within a few weeks. Many others have successfully challenged their assessment.

Caroline Lucas, Green MP and former Leader of the Green Party stated:

“It’s absolutely clear that the workplace capability assessment is not fit for purpose. The assessment is absurdly rigid, whereas illness is often fluctuating. Someone with a mental illness – like many physical illnesses - may be able to do something one day, but not another day. The system is utterly unfair and needs to be scrapped.”

Welfare rights advisers, doctors, coroners, relatives of people who have died, people with disabilities, even the Office for Budget Responsibility are all in agreement that the system in its current form is flawed.

Rebecca Tully said:

“I am absolutely outraged that many in this area have lost out through welfare changes. The actions of this government are not in our name. We want to show people that they are not alone and that by acting together we can make change.“