Opinion: Disabled Mark Wood starved to death after benefits cut when Atos declared him fit for work – Mirror Online – John Gelmini


ATOS PROTEST BANNER (Photo credit: Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty)

Dr Alf wonders why firms like Atos are not held to account.

It seems that the contract that the DWP has with ATOS cannot be broken without the taxpayer incurring penalties so for this reason the Government allows the nonsense to go on.

This begs the question about performance because as things stand 40% of ATOS’s determinations about fitness to work are overturned by the courts so if these costs are factored in how much money are the DWP really saving from the incapacity benefit bill?

Secondly, if I have a person or organisation working for me under contract and they manifestly fail to perform, I dismiss them and pay them no more money—I do not go on paying them and offer them more work as the Government are poised to do in another area.

The fact that nothing is being done suggests at best that civil servants and Government Ministers are at best incompetent, incapable of negotiating, get poor legal advice or are very stupid.

At worst, it suggests cavalier and almost criminal disregard for taxpayers, any sensible definition of public duty and potential malfeasance.

In corporate life, bank accounts of those directly involved in decision-making and those of their relatives, wives and mistresses would be forensically examined and the investigating authorities unleashed.

With benefit recipients owing more than £2000 gbp it is my local authority’s standard policy to go for a jail sentence but in this case, ATOS and the DWP have gone one better, by making sure through ATOS’s determination of “fitness to work” that this poor unfortunate never lived long enough to make any further claims although the taxpayer will have one final bill, namely his cremation.

There are people who are fit to work and still claiming benefits and I see them in my doctor’s surgery whenever I am there for prescription medicine. It does not take an Einstein to identify them or an ATOS, what it would take is a proper medical examination and some commonsense.

Clearly ATOS, Ministers and civil servants are collectively lacking in the latter.

John Gelmini

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Opinion: Resignation of Mark Harper MP – Press releases – GOV.UK – John Gelmini

Dr Alf poses an interesting question, the answer to which is “yes”.

Various papers on so-called “managed retreat” have been put forward by successive Governments who only a few years ago wanted to punch holes in North Sea and East Anglian flood defenses, allow water to come in and destroy farmland.

Global Warming/Climate Change has been put forward as the reason for the storms and the
Government pretends it lacks the money whilst applying the £8 gbp’s worth of economic benefit test to every £1 spent by the Environment Agency on flood defense.

To begin with when Jeremy Paxman interviewed Lord Smith, the CEO of the Environment Agency he was obsequious and grovelling. He did not ask the useless Smith how the Treasury test that supposedly “tied his hands ” was worked out.

After these floods, we know as surely as tomorrow;s sun will rise that:

–Insurance premiums for homes and businesses will rise

–Food prices will go up thus reducing disposable income

–Overseas inward investors will look with incredulity at the lack of resilience to inclement weather, our inability to protect infrastructure, our lack of storm drains and the taxes we pay.

Then they will look at Holland, Germany, America, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Finland etc and conclude that these countries seem to be able to organize themselves better and represent a better bet for their investments and as places to do business.

Going on television and saying your staff are doing a great job, whilst houses adjacent to a country’s capital city are being turned into an inland sea, is not going to convince hard-headed inward investors to put money into this country, no matter how much people like David Cameron say “Britain is open for business”.

The poor PR alone in my view creates an economic dys-benefit which outweighs the so-called Treasury test by a significant margin.

The Government claims that it lacked the £4 million gbp a year to dredge the Somerset levels, yet £600 million gbp has been sent to Syria, whilst we are spending even more money on training Syrian rebels in Turkey and Jordan using our special forces.

The bigger question is what is being done with our taxes?

We are 17th in the world in terms of value per taxpayer pound and yet the infrastructure in the way of roads, bridges, high-speed bullet trains, storm drainage, flood defenses, airports, hospitals and schools simply is not in evidence on the scale it should be given our rising population.

At my most charitable, I attribute this to incompetence, too many local authorities and

The Thames Barrier is one of the flood risk ma...

The Thames Barrier is one of the flood risk management installations operated by the Environment Agency (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and too many civil servants.

This does not explain where all the money has gone and why no attempt is being made to forensically investigate why it is that other countries seem to be able to protect themselves against snow, ice, floods, storms and build infrastructure and deliver economic growth.

Mark Harper, the silly immigration minister, is a distraction to these questions and to the question of what of value might lie underneath the Somerset levels.

John Gelmini


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