In a proposed overhaul of the benefits system David Cameron wants to cut the welfare budget by £500m
Cameron is expected to announce that the government will look at cutting the benefits of people who suffer from obesity and alcohol or drug addiction if they refuse treatment
The Independent reports: The Conservatives plan to tell obese people on welfare that they will lose their sickness benefit if they do not diet.
The move is the party’s latest foray into reducing welfare costs and they also want to see drug addicts and alcoholics stripped of benefits if they refuse treatment plans.
While playing to many traditional Tory voters, it will infuriate addiction and other health charities which have previously criticised similar proposals.
It could also bring the Conservatives into direct confrontation with the British Medical Association which in 2013 castigated as “draconian and sill” calls by Tory-held Westminster Council to cut the benefits of overweight people who refused exercise regimes.
David Cameron, who will announced the measure today, said obesity and addictions are treatable and that people claiming long term are choosing “a life on benefits rather than work”.
He has asked Professor Dame Carol Black, a Department of Health adviser, to carry out a review to identify how best to get long term claimants back into work and thus avoid the “unwarranted expense” of their claims.
The Tories estimate almost 100,000 people with “treatable conditions” such as alcoholism and obesity claim sickness benefits, costing the taxpayer about £350 million annually. Overall, there are 2.5 million claimants for sickness benefits, of whom 1.5 million have claimed for at least five years.