Labour has accused the Tories of "offensive" audacity over its pledge to help disabled people, given the party's past "shirkers, scrounger narrative".

Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams also accused them of "just talk, no action" over efforts to boost employment prospects for disabled people, saying its latest reforms were merely kicking the issue into the long grass.

On Monday the Government published a green paper outlining a new approach to disability, health and work that it hopes will half the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people.

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In response to a statement from Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green in the Commons, Ms Abrahams was scathing about the Government's plan.

She said: "This is again kicking the issue of support for disabled people and halving the disability employment gap into the long grass.

"This is the third secretary of state who has promised a plan and yet we have just talk, no action."

She added: "During his announcement today, the secretary of state claimed that he was confronting negative attitudes, prejudices and misunderstanding.

"The audacity of this statement is offensive. The Government has been responsible for more than anything of the negative attitude towards disabled people, with their shirkers, scrounger narrative."

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Mr Green said he was "disappointed" in Labour's response, given many disability groups and charities had supported the Government's latest vision.

He said: "I'm afraid her carping at this is just out of touch with the sector of those who most represent disabled people."

Mr Green also said the Government had "inherited a broken system, a system where there were too few incentives to move from welfare to work, and one where too many of our fellow citizens were simply taken off the books and forgotten about."

He added: "The health and welfare systems must support those that will never be able to work.

"It should offer the opportunity of work for all those who can, provide help for those who could, and care for those who can't.

"It is the help for those who could that through this green paper we will transform."

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Mr Green was heckled from the Labour benches as he insisted the Government had moved to ensure work always pays, and that reforms like universal credit had been a success.

Ms Abrahams said: "I must challenge the Secretary of State on his point suggesting the so-called reforms to social security have helped to make work pay.

"These claims are derisory. All the evidence shows not only has the introduction of universal credit been an unmitigated disaster - with seven delays to date, the Major Projects Authority and the NAO (National Audit Office) expressing concerns regarding the scheme's governance, and the additional £3 billion taxpayers are having to pay - but cuts to the work allowance has simply failed to make UC help to make work pay."

Others warned that the advice of GPs is being overridden by untrained people, while Labour MP David Winnick (Walsall North) said some disabled people are so distraught at their treatment by the benefits system that he has had grown men break down in tears in front of him.

He said: "I consider it a shameful situation."

Iain Duncan Smith, who resigned as work and pensions secretary over cuts to disability benefits, urged the Government to reverse cuts and move away from a "binary" system which stops benefits when someone is deemed fit to work.

He said: "One of the areas which has caused the greatest difficulty in employment support allowance (ESA) has been the binary choice that lies at the heart of its design where you're either too sick to work or you should work. We know that in many cases that condition can vary.

"Now that universal credit is out and rolling out and this is part of universal credit, will (the Government) look to see whether it is feasible to actually move away from that binary choice so if they do move into work they can have that extra allowance?"

Dr Eilidh Whiteford, SNP welfare spokeswoman, called for "actions not just words".

She said: "The truth is that the burden of austerity that has fallen on sick and disabled people in recent years has caused severe hardship and pushed many people further away from the workplace."

She said sick and disabled people have been disproportionately sanctioned in the benefits system and hit by the bedroom tax.

She added: "And far too many people who are manifestly too sick to work are still being found fit for work."