CEO and President of Maximus Scramble to Dump Their Shares – Going Fast and Cheap.
Is the May government and Damien Green really going to deliver the promise that they would be different to a Cameron government well no I really don’t think so as both voted through swingeing welfare cuts when part of that government including voting to take away £30 a week from disabled people not fit for work to ‘incentivise’ them to get non-existent jobs. They voted also in favour of the discredited and hugely costly Universal Credit, the Bedroom Tax, the Benefit Cap, and limiting the annual rise in social security payments to 1%. They gleefully voted through the closure of the Independent living Fund a ring-fenced pot of funding to help disabled people to live independently in the community.
They still plan to steam full speed ahead with cuts of £96 billion from tax credits from the working poor and working age social security payments. None of which sound humane to me.
Having heard the news that Damien Green was promising something more humane for a minority of disabled people and that at long last the Tories seem to have at last grasped what campaigners have been saying for years that retesting people with long term impairments or chronic conditions was a waste of money my suspicions as to why were immediately raised and so I decided to delve a little further into the murky world and finances of the Maximus the American corporation carrying out ESA assessments. A further question of course is why if ending retesting is the humane thing to do then why not also end costly retesting of disabled people for Personal Independence Payments. Many of those people retested for this additional payment to meet the extra costs of being disabled were previously awarded Disability Living Allowance for life as they have conditions that will not improve.
Anyhow back to Maximus who will be paid £1.6 billion over 3 years to carry out these assessments. Way back in September 2015 the share value of Maximus plummeted by 26% as they were failing to keep to their agreed targets to assess disabled people. Between November 2015 and the following January the CEO of Maximus Richard Montoni and the President Bruce Caswell are reputed to have sold between them £11.4 million worth of shares and a quick google shows that since then most months one or the other has continued to sell off a sizeable number of shares, together with a number of other high level employees. Obviously those on the inside within Maximus can’t wait to offload their shares in the company.
In the meantime between 2014 and 2015 the average staff cost rose from £26,000 to £44,000 per annum and half of those hired never completed their training. Together with a more than 100% increase in the average wage the cost of each assessment rose by £85 each to a staggering £190. At the same time the national Audit Office found that there was a backlog of 280,000 claims with many new claimants waiting over 6 months for assessment and in fact the situation was so bad that all retesting had to be halted as Maximus could not mange to carry out the assessments.
So I think what we need to ask ourselves is whether Green’s announcement is the start of something good for disabled people or just another cover up of the failings of Maximus and cheap political propaganda?