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ON A HIDING TO NOTHING; FURY ATOS U-TURN ON CONTRACT CASH EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: d.clegg@dailyrecord.co.uk DAVID CLEGG

DISABILITY benefits firm Atos were slammed last night after backtracking on a pledge to reveal how much they're raking in doing the UK Government's dirty work.

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine hit out after the French company refused to disclose the profits they make from carrying out controversial assessments on disabled people.

After readily agreeing to appear before Holyrood's welfare reform committee on June 23, Atos boss David Haley told MSPs: "We are certainly not unwilling to provide that information."

But he has refused to reveal the "commercially sensitive" figure in a follow-up letter to committee convener Michael McMahon.

It is simply unacceptable that they now trying to wriggle out of commitment JOAN MCALPINE Haley said: "I indicated during the meeting that Atos would expect to make a profit over the lifetime of the PIP contract.

"However, as this information is classed as being commercially sensitive, we have been advised that as part of our contractual arrangements, we are unable to disclose figures relating to profit."

The firm's stance enraged McAlpine, who is already furious that Tory Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has refused to appear at the committee.

are that She said: "In June, David Haley agreed to disclose profits they expect to make from their PIP contract. It is simply unacceptable that they are now trying to wriggle out of that commitment. "Tory Government ministers hide from answering questions from Scotland's Parliament - but the sooner the organ grinder Iain Duncan Smith comes here to explain his decisions, which make life so difficult for so many vulnerable and hardworking Scots, the better."

The row erupted nearly three years after the Daily Record revealed Atos could make up to PS40million from a contract for Scotland and the north of England for assessing whether disabled people should get personal independence payments.

But insiders say their profit margin is likely to have been cut as they had to hire extra staff to deal with a claims backlog.

The firm became infamous for carrying out the Government's fit-for-work tests but later dropped out of the contract following a storm of protest.

But Atos continued with the PIP contract, part of the Tories' removal of disability living allowance.

The firm said: "We have provided supplementary information but said at committee that we would have to check which figures we could disclose.

"As with other companies, profit figures form part of contractual arrangements and are commercially sensitive as they could damage competition."

The Department for Work and Pensions refused to comment.

June 23 - Firm's chief tells MSPs they are 'not unwilling' to reveal profits August 12 - He tells committee chair we are 'unable to disclose figures'

It is simply unacceptable that they are now trying to wriggle out of that commitment JOAN MCALPINE

CAPTION(S):

PLEDGE Atos boss Haley at the committee. Below, our story on firm's claims backlog Daily RecoRD Wed

ANGERED SNP MSP Joan McAlpine

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 18, 2015
Words:491
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