Government to Cut Addicts’ Benefits

Published On: August 27, 2015

The Tory Government considers cutting drug addicts, alcoholics and the obese’s benefits.

The Government is legitimising cuts using Professor Dame Carol Black’s research.

Prof. Black is the Government’s official advisor to the Department of Health and chairs the Nuffield Trust.

Black’s research looks at the economic ‘burden’ these people have on the UK economy.

The economic cost of addiction and obesity

Prof. Black’s Research suggests obese costs the economy around £27 billion in benefits each year. A study by McKinsey and Company claims obesity costs the UK economy £47 billion each year. Alcoholics are said to cost the UK economy around £21 billion annually.

Figures estimate around 90,000 people in the UK cannot work due to drug/alcohol addiction. Around 1,800 people are said to be receiving disability allowance because of obesity.

However, under the Government’s proposed plans, alcoholics can avoid having their benefits cut by attending alcohol treatment. The Government will apply these cuts by varying jobseekers’ ‘claimant contract’.

Are these proposals morally right?

Critics claim the Government is trying to win over voters by introducing headline hitting measures as he coming May 2016 local elections on the horizon. The Government’s announcement follows criticism that enough is not being done to prevent tax avoidance amongst Britain’s wealthiest. Addicts and obese people are said to be ‘easy targets’ by allowing the Government to make £12bn of its proposed welfare cuts over the course of the next parliament.

David Cameron told Rehab 4 Alcoholism: “Too many people are stuck on sickness benefits because of issues that could be addressed but instead are not.

“It is not fair to ask hardworking taxpayers to fund the benefits of people who refuse to accept the support and treatment that could help them to get back to a life of work.”

What the experts say

DrugScope, a UK-based charity, brands the proposed cuts a dangerous precedent and one that goes against the NHS’s constitution.

Alcohol Concern’s chief executive Eric Appleby said: “At the moment, only one in 16 people with an alcohol problem are receiving specialist alcohol treatment. In order to make this work, jobcentre staff will need to be properly trained in order to recognise when someone has an alcohol problem and to be able to offer the right advice.”

The Royal College of Physicians official advisor on alcoholism, Sir Ian Gilmore, said: “Current treatment facilities for addicts in this country, particularly those with alcohol dependence, are woefully inadequate and we strongly support initiatives to improve this.

“However, patients must be treated with respect and given genuine choice in their treatment options, and these must be fully respected in any scheme.”

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