From today's Daily Mirror. Joe Hemming was savaged by a cross-party committee of MPs after claiming that the public was 'satisfied' with the controversial private contractor's performance
The boss of hated benefit assessor Atos was yesterday accused of “living in a parallel universe” after claiming the public was “satisfied” with the job his firm was doing.
Joe Hemming made the claim after being hauled before MPs to explain the firm’s botched handling of the Government’s “work capability assessments” which try to get people off benefits.
Angry MPs told Mr Hemming thousands of their constituents were still in desperate circumstances because incorrect assessments had stripped them of vital financial support.
Mr Hemming, appearing at the Commons Public Administration Committee, said: “Atos is proud of the work it does.
“We have a real passion for delivering services to the citizen in a way that continues to satisfy the way the citizen wants to be served.”
Labour MP Paul Flynn accused Mr Hemming of suffering from a “reality problem”.
He asked: “Do you live in some kind of bubble somewhere – some kind of parallel universe?”
Mr Flynn added he had been forced to listen to “vacuous nonsense”.
He was joined by Tory and Lib Dems in attacking the firm.
Lib Dem Greg Mulholland said Atos’s name was “severely damaged for good” over their handling of vulnerable claimants.
And Tory MP Robert Halfon said: “You don’t provide good service and there is no redress.”
He said the majority of his constituents thought the service from Atos was “appalling”.
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French IT giant Atos has been dogged by criticism since winning the coalition contract, worth hundreds of millions of pounds, to assess whether people with disabilities are really fit to work.
Charities in August described Atos as “farcical” after it told nearly a half of all people suffering from crippling life-long diseases like Parkinson’s they would get better.
In 2012, campaigners called for a boycott of the Paralympics because Atos was one of the main sponsors.