Dan Parton writes (28th February 2011) : The government’s much-trumpeted Welfare Reform Bill was launched in February, outlining its plans for the welfare state, with a general theme of getting people off benefits and into work. This was legislation that many people had been waiting for. For many months, fears over axing the mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA) for people in residential care have hung like a cloud over people with learning disabilities. Likewise, for those on employment and support allowance/incapacity benefit, fears over the new assessment process were giving claimants sleepless nights.Sadly, the bill won’t have put many of those fears to bed. While the government did abandon plans to reduce housing benefit payments for people who are unable to find a job within a year, other issues have not been addressed.Reforming DLA into the personal independence payment is to go ahead, but it still seems like a budget decision – the government has targeted saving 20% from budget and caseload – rather than evidence-based. Cutting the mobility component to those in residential care is also still on the cards, which those in residential care say will harm their independence.There are also still fears that people with learning disabilities will be wrongly assessed as fit for work. Critics, such as disability charity Scope, say the proposed work capability assessments do not take all the physical, psychological, social and practical barriers to work that people with learning disabilities face into account. As a result, they could end up on the wrong benefit and without the support they require to get a job – and could then be penalised under plans for time-limiting jobseeker’s allowance.While there are few arguments with the sentiment of ‘making work pay’, people with learning disabilities need to be given the right levels of support in order to be ready for the world of work. Of course, even with support, getting a job is increasingly difficult for people with learning disabilities. With about 2.5 million unemployed in the UK, competition is increasingly fierce.And it is not going to get any easier; the private sector so far has shown little sign of creating the number of jobs required and the public sector is still in the midst of a widespread cull of staff. Add in the barriers to employment that already exist and it paints a bleak picture.That said, for many, judgement on welfare reform will be reserved until the finer details of how it will be implemented are announced, and for assurances that benefits will not be taken off the people who need it. Until then, the worry for people with learning disabilities, their families and carers will continue.