The fatcat boss of a firm hired to help slash the benefits bill has apparently won a bonus of nearly £1million.
Thierry Breton’s bumper payout means he pocketed more than £1.9million last year.
Details of the obscene sum paid to the head of French firm Atos come as David Cameron draws up draconian new welfare cuts.
Atos was brought in to reassess 2.5 million people on incapacity benefit to help the Department for Work and Pensions decide whether they are fit to work.
Mr Breton received his massive pay out despite mounting numbers of successful appeals by people ordered to get a job after being tested by the firm.
Heart attack and lung disease victims are among those judged to be well enough to work.
Some 3,100 claimants had appeals upheld in May 2011, up from 900 in the same month in 2010, the latest figures show.
On average almost two in five (38%) challenged decisions are overturned at tribunal, nearly one in 10 of all those made.
And the appeals system costs taxpayers tens of millions of pounds to administer.
Labour MP Tom Greatrex says Mr Breton’s bonus will “sicken” those put through the reassessment ordeal.
The Atos chief’s latest payment comes on top of wages and perks totalling £1.83million in 2010.
It was revealed in its recent annual report in which it boasts about its “excellent service”.
Mr Greatrex said: “People will find it hard to believe that he sees fit to reward himself with millions, while thousands here suffer.
“It will sicken those who have been through the Atos process to hear the company crow about its expertise.”
He called on the DWP to get a grip on Atos and make the firm improve its performance.
“Thousands suffered because time and again incorrect decisions have been made on the back of Atos assessments,” he said.
An Atos source said decisions on fitness to work were not based solely on its assessments but also on information from claimants and their doctors.
A spokesman for the company said the bonus was unrelated to the firm’s Government contract, insisting: “No bonus payments are made as part of the Department for Work and Pensions contract.”
At this time of austerity and spending cuts nationwide, any excessive bonus, which this certainly is, is just plain wrong.
Tom Greatrex MP is absolutely right. Disabled people and carers who have been through the assessment process are sickened by this bonus. Those disabled people who have not yet been through the process, but who have heard the stories of what it is like, are sickened by the bonus.
Many feel it should be fairly divided among benefit claimants, who are currently suffering as a result of the cuts, as well as all those who have appealed wrong decisions made by ATOS about their benefits.
These are the people who genuinely need this money to survive.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies