From Disabled Go News.
The government’s decision to extend the contracts of two discredited companies that carry out disability benefit assessments has been branded “appalling”, “shocking” and “a complete con”.
The move has also been criticised by the Scottish government.
Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, told MPs in a written statement this week that she planned to extend the assessment contracts for the two companies that carry out the personal independence payment (PIP) assessments – Atos and Capita – by a further two years.
The contracts had been due to end in the middle of 2019.
Newton also announced that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was developing its own IT system that would allow it to “enable more providers to deliver PIP”.
Some commentators – including Frank Field, chair of the Commons work and pensions committee – took this to mean that Newton was threatening that DWP would carry out PIP assessments itself if Atos and Capita did not improve their performance over the next two years.
But one disabled people’s organisation, Buckinghamshire Disability Service (BuDS), said on its Facebook page that the reason for the two-year contract extension was that Atos “owns the IT system that DWP rely on for PIP claims, and they can’t sack them until DWP has developed its own IT system”.
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