Update on my post on Atos below: The Telegraph’s Tom Chivers has done some fact checking and good old fashioned digging around to get to the bottom of the statistics cited in the Big Issue article:
“The DWP spokeswoman was keen to say that the Big Issue has reported the issue properly: the deaths did occur “within six weeks” of the claim ending. I would say that any natural reading of that implies that the six weeks are after the death, but since the DWP’s own document uses that language, they’ve got no one to blame for the misunderstanding but themselves. Nonetheless, the story here is not “10,600 people die right after they’re told they’re fit to work”, but “the DWP’s record-keeping system is efficient enough to stop paying people disability support within six weeks of them dying”.”
What Tom Chivers does point out, and what I think holds true, is that Atos has done a terrible job of administering the contract on assessing whether people are fit to work. Even Atos acknowledges that. And the distress felt by people who are seriously, even terminally ill is very real, very unfortunate and absolutely unacceptable in the pursuit of a primarily ideological austerity drive.