Ceredigion’s Welsh Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams has secured a debate in the House of Commons, entitled 'The Work of ATOS as a Service Provider.'
In Mark's debate, which will be held this morning, he will raise concerns bought to him by constituents concerned about delays in the claims and appeals process when claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA). Mark will also highlight concerns which have been raised by constituents and charity groups alike, about whether the test itself is fit for purpose, given the amount of assessments which are going to appeal, and referals from the local DWP office, Job Centre Plus and local Citizens Advice Bureau. The Minister of State for Disabled People will be present to respond to the concerns Mark is raising on behalf of his constituents.
Commenting ahead of the debate, Mark Williams said;
'I sought this debate as I was getting concerned about the number of constituents contacting me with their anxieties about the level of delays in the process of being assessed for ESA, and the delays being experience by those who are appealing process. ATOS has historically been contracted by the DWP to undertaken assessments for a wide range of benefits, but it is claims for ESA in particular which have been causing more widespread concern locally, and across the rest of the UK, I am sure.
'I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say about how he feels ATOS is performing, and whether he has any plans to take measures to ensure the assessment process is undertaken in a fair and comprehensive way, but critically within a reasonable time frame.'