Minister 'tried to censor' video aimed at helping disability claimants to appeal (UK)

Minister 'tried to censor' video aimed at helping disability claimants to appeal

The employment minister Chris Grayling has been accused of trying to censor a Ministry of Justice courts service information video that helps people appealing against decisions to remove their disability and sickness benefit.

Emails and letters between Grayling and MoJ civil servants, seen by the Guardian, appear to show Grayling wanted to remove parts of the educational video, produced by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, giving advice on how to be more successful in the appeals process. Emails from the minister's account complain about the video's "tone" and "negative comments" towards the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) even though the sections in dispute were agreed to be factually true.

The censorship allegations come after Channel 4's Dispatches programme on Monday alleged that Atos, the firm involved in medically assessing sickness and disability claims, had developed a target culture to ensure enough people were being taken off benefits. The BBC's Panorama, also aired on Monday, further questioned Atos's assessment procedures and found one case in which a man died of his serious heart condition five weeks after Atos found him fit to work for the second time. Hundreds of thousands of people have appealed against benefit decisions in the past few years and, according to the latest figures, about 30% are successful.

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