By Claire West

Commenting on findings from the government's incapacity benefit reassessment programme published this week by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

'While we welcome the government's commitment to implement the Harrington Review to improve the operation of work capability assessments, these trials were carried out under the old system where 40 per cent of appeals were upheld, due to problems the government acknowledges still exist.

'Even among those who do not appeal, many of the people judged as 'fit for work' in these trials are disabled, and will face additional barriers moving into the jobs market - particularly as they are likely to have spent a long period out of work and live in areas where unemployment is high.

'With more than five unemployed people now chasing every job vacancy, whether or not people get back into work will depend upon the economy starting to grow.

'Instead of blaming sick and disabled people for being out of work the government needs to stop cutting back on support for unemployed people and start focusing on creating jobs.'