Jobcentre Plus office in Glasgow

Nearly 600 suicides in England may be associated with the government’s “fit-for-work” tests, research suggests.

Oxford and Liverpool researchers looked at 2010-13 data and also found the Work Capability Assessments could be linked to a rise in mental health problems.

The study found the areas with most WCAs showed the sharpest increases.

The government said the report was “wholly misleading” and the authors had cautioned that no conclusions could be drawn about cause and effect.

However, the researchers said that while a causal link could not be established, they had tried to adjust for other factors which may have influenced the results.

They also noted that the observed increases in mental ill health followed – rather than preceded – the reassessment process.

‘Serious consequences’

The academic paper, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, examined 149 English council areas

FULL story at the .BBC