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DISABLED PEOPLE AGAINST CUTS (DPAC) CAERDYDD PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE ISSUE
CONTACT – Disabled People Against Cuts Caerdydd, 07855510534
A disabled person in his 30s will lead a five day hunger strike and vigil outside the ATOS office on St Agnes Road, Gabalfa, Cardiff to protest a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) declaring him fit for work and cutting his benefits.
Christos Palmer, who has both mental and physical health problems, including depression, self-harm and mobility issues, hopes the protest will highlight the suffering of disabled people caused by current government policies.
ATOS, the French IT company that carries out the controversial Work Capability Assessments for the DWP has been the subject of widespread condemnation from disability charities and the British Medical Assocation who call for the assesments to be scrapped completely. The firm has been accused of target chasing for cutting the amount of people found eligible for benefits.
Rob Marsh, a protest spokesperson said,
“Earlier this year a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary revealed the DWP requires ATOS to reject the benefit claims of 7 out of 8 disabled claimants, resulting in immense suffering, homelessness, or death. The mark of a civilised society is how it addresses the needs of its most vulnerable members. Given what is happening to tens of thousands of disabled people in Britain today, we can no longer claim to be a civilized society.
Our campaign is part of a national campaign that goes by the name “Atos Kills”. This is based on well-documented evidence that approximately 32 disabled people a week died last year after their Atos Work Capability Assessments deemed them “fit to work” and stopped benefits. This year the figure has risen to 73 deaths per week including suicides”
A spokesperson from Disabled People Against Cuts in Cardiff said,
”While we support the protest aims we are extremely concerned about Christos’s physical and mental wellbeing. He often suffers from extreme fatigue and is housebound on some days. That somebody so unwell has been driven to this shows the desperation that the sick and disabled are being driven to by this government. We are urging him to end his hunger strike”
The protest begins on Monday at 8 am and end on Friday afternoon.