Jeremy Corbyn vs. Tories & Disappearing democracy in Turkey (E259)

Can the establishment and the Tories who meet in Manchester today beat Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell? We talk to the author of “The Enemy Within”, Guardian columnist and associate editor Seumas Milne. And, as the Kurdish YPG leader asks for Russia's help in defeating ISIS, we speak to award-winning Turkish author Elif Shafak about the role of her country in the Syria Crisis. Plus, as Cameron promises to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees, is he going to turn them into criminals through a brand new immigration bill?


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Statement from ATOS.

Background information on the WCA contract we held:

  • Atos Healthcare was initially appointed to carry out disability benefits assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions in 1998 when the service was first outsourced.
  • The current Medical Services contract was let in 2005 and then extended in 2010 and was due to run until August 2015.
  • The scope of the contract changed in 2008 with the introduction of an entirely new benefit Employment and Support Allowance which required that Atos Healthcare begin delivering Work Capability Assessments.
  • The contract changed again in 2011 with the commencement of the reassessment of around 2 million people moving from Incapacity Benefit to Employment and Support Allowance.·         Our role is confined to conducting assessments within strict guidelines set by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), so they can make a decision on a person’s need for financial support. We don’t make decisions on benefits. That’s the sole remit of the government and the DWP officers who are called ‘decision-makers’. The assessment guidelines and medical descriptors are designed by the Government and have been enshrined in legislation.
  • The WCA is a functional assessment on a person’s ability to work and is not designed to diagnose or treat a medical condition which is the remit of a person’s treating physician.
  • The DWP decision maker was able to send a report back to us to be re-done if they felt they did not have sufficient information in order to make a decision on benefit entitlement.
  • Atos Healthcare employed and trained around 1,200 doctors, nurses and physiotherapists to conduct assessments. They were all registered with their relevant Medical Body, had at least three years post-qualification practical experience and were approved by the DWP Chief Medical Adviser in order to work on this contract.
  • In early 2014 Atos Healthcare announced that it had mutually agreed a financial settlement and would exit the contract early, with a view to a new provider taking responsibility for delivery by 2015.On our corporation tax, please see statement below: “We don’t undertake any aggressive tax planning and everything booked in the UK is also billed here which is why HM Revenue and Customs has classified us as low risk. “However, due to significant investment in the UK to maintain our business here as well as pension contributions, we did not make enough profit last year to qualify for Corporation Tax.”    

A DWP spokesman said:

“Suicide is a tragic and complex issue and we take these matters extremely seriously.

“Following reforms to the work capability assessment, which was introduced in 2008, people are getting more tailored support to return to work instead of being written off on long term sickness benefits as happened too often in the past.”