PROTESTERS have appealed to the Government to scrap work capability assessments being carried out by a private firm.

As part of a coordinated national demonstration, protesters gathered outside the the St Deny Road office, where assessments to judge whether someone can work are carried out by staff of the private firm Atos.

The business has increasingly come under fire for its dealings with disabled people attending work capability assessments, with Government figures showing 10,600 people died within six weeks of being declared for for work, the trade union Unite said.

More than 40 per cent of cases in which people have been deemed fit to work, and had their benefits cut have then had their appeals upheld.

Graham Martin, of York People’s Assembly, said: “Many vulnerable people have been affected by a very unclear testing process which is very stressful and often has a negative effect on their wellbeing.”

The nationwide protest called for assessments to consult GPs and also objected to the the privatisation of the assessment system.

A spokesman for Atos said: "Atos Healthcare has no control over welfare policy, the design of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), or the specific eligibility criteria for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). These are set by government.

"Our healthcare professionals use their clinical judgement in order to apply the government-designed criteria and they do not have the scope to make any assessment outside of these guidelines.”