By Matthew D’Arcy
A former chairman of the Disability Rights Commission has shown support for protests against Paralympics partner Atos, with campaigners disgruntled at ‘fitness to work’ tests that the company is carrying out for the government.
Speaking to Publicservice.co.uk, Sir Bert Massie, who has also held a wide range of other influential roles including Commissioner for the Compact, said disabled people were “frightened” by the government’s approach to assessing their entitlement to incapacity benefit.
“People don’t believe the assessment is fair,” he said. The assessments were “destroying the lives of disabled people”.
“Some have committed suicide because of the assessment,” he added.
Sir Bert said his own disability had not prevented him from working because of his education. But other people who had similar physical and mental abilities, but who lacked his level education, might not be able to work, he said.
The “crude” assessments meant people’s situations were “much more complicated than the government were allowing for”.
The tests were as “random as putting an apple behind your back and asking left hand or right hand”, he said.