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Public attitudes towards disability lagging behind

Disabled people are still being held back by poor attitudes towards their impairment, a leading charity has found.

Read: ATOS ends controversial fit to work tests

Disability
Those with disabilities are just as capable as everyone else, Scope said Credit: PA

Read: MPs 'Unacceptable' benefits delay for disabled people

A report published by Scope found 42% of disabled people told Scope that they had lost out on a job because of the way employers perceived their impairment “every time” or “a lot of the time”.

The charity said despite advancements in law and public awareness, disabled people still felt isolated and held back by some who were discriminatory or outright abusive towards them.

Chair of Scope, Alice Maynard explained: "But many still see such disabled people as the heroic exception and public understanding of what disability is, and the challenges disabled people face on a daily basis, is limited.

"This means that, in 2014, disabled people’s everyday lives are tougher than they need to be."

Read: How welfare reform looks at ground level

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Penning: 'Government wanted to end Atos contract'

Government had been looking for a way to end the contract with Atos but was waiting for a way to get out of the deal without losing the taxpayer money said Department for Work and Pensions minister Mike Penning.

Mr Penning said that if the DWP had sacked Atos "we would have had to have paid millions of pounds in compensation to them. I've had to work with them to actually say we want you to leave, they've announced that they wanted to leave.

"But I didn't want a gap and I wanted a quality and I wanted the backlog sorted out that we've negotiated and done and of course there'll be a large contribution to the tax payer."

Atos 'remains committed to delivering services'

We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Government to allow us to exit this contract early and we remain committed to delivering essential services to the UK Government as a strategic supplier.

Our team will work hard to support transition to a new provider and we believe that we have reached a settlement that is in the best interests of all parties. We have supported and been flexible in implementing all the changes asked of us from the reviews of the Work Capability Assessment process.

– Ursula Morgenstern, Atos CEO

In a statement Atos said it would: "continue to deliver the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments in Scotland, north of England, London and south of England and to deliver Work Capability Assessments on behalf of the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland."

Your views: Concerns over what comes after Atos

As Atos says it has ended its contract with the Government over controversial assessments of whether benefits claimants are fit to work, we asked you if you had been through an Atos assessment and what you felt now that the IT company will no longer be responsible for them.

  • Anne Elsdon: "Too little too late, they have caused far too much suffering to ill people."
  • Sarah-Jane Darbon-Tailby: "Yes I have and they have a lot to answer for. Have caused people a lot of stress and illness when people already suffering!"

Read more: Atos ends controversial fit-to-work tests contract

  • Kaye Edwards: "I've had a ATOS assessment, but what worries me the most is who/what is going to take over now and are they going to be better/worse or same? It's all too worrying for those who have to go through these assessments yet!"
  • Irene Baldwin: "Best thing that's happened. They've caused so much heartache and distress to genuinely ill people. Glad to see them go hope the new company takes on board the short comings of ATOS."

You can join the conversation and tell us about your experiences on the ITV News Facebook page.

Labour: Changing Atos contract 'is not enough'

People have been badly let down by Atos which is why Labour has repeatedly called on the Government to sack them with immediate effect.

But changing the contract isn’t enough. It’s time for the Government to reform fundamentally Work Capability Assessments so that disabled people who can work are given support they need to find a job.

– Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Minister

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Atos made 'substantial settlement' to DWP

Atos has paid a settlement to the Department for Work and Pensions Disabled minister Mike Penning has said after the IT firm ended its contract early.

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In fact, Atos has made a "substantial financial settlement" to the #DWP, says Disabled Minister Mike Penning #ESA

Read more: Atos ends controversial fit-to-work tests contract

Atos will 'not receive early termination compensation'

A Department for Work and Pensions minister has said he is 'pleased' that Atos will receive no compensation after it ended its contract with the Government over controversial assessments of whether benefits claimants are fit to work.

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Minister "pleased that Atos will not receive a single penny of compensation from the taxpayer for early termination" #esa

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In fact, Atos has made a "substantial financial settlement" to the #DWP, says Disabled Minister Mike Penning #ESA

Read more: Atos ends controversial fit-to-work tests contract

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