Protest at benefits criteria for disabled in Leeds

ATOS demo outside Quarry House, Leeds.
ATOS demo outside Quarry House, Leeds.
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A DEMONSTRATION was held yesterday in Leeds, over the way benefits are being assessed for people with disabilities or illness.

Disabled people gathered from 8am with placards outside Quarry House along with union members, as part of a national day of action taking part in towns and cities all over the UK outside Atos assessment centres - which makes decisions over whether disabled and or mentally ill people are fit for work.

It was organised by Disabled People Against Cuts and other disability support groups.

In the crowd was Niccola Swan, director of Leeds Mind, who said: “we are protesting against the way in which the assessments on whether people are capable of work are done.

“The protest was partly outside the assessment centre and partly sharing information with staff going into work in Quarry House. Most people were friendly and interested in the leaflets.

A handful of police and security people were there but no problems.”

She said half of all people who claim benefits because they are unwell are ill because of mental health problems. And over 50,000 people with mental health problems have won appeals against fit for work decisions in the last five years and the current assessment doesn’t take account of fluctuating conditions, like mental health.

Over 40 per cent of cases where people have been deemed fit to work, and had their benefits cut have had their appeals upheld.

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