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Thousands of addicts claiming benefits for decade

21st April 2011

Government figures have shown that more than 80,000 people in Britain claim incapacity benefit because they are alcoholics, drug addicts or obese.

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And more than 25% of those had not worked for 10 years, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Prime Minister David Cameron said taxpayers would not be happy at paying for such people and would be more comfortable in seeing benefits go to "people who are incapacitated through no fault of their own".

The DWP data was based on August 2010 as the government plans to re-assess all current incapacity benefit claimants by 2014.

The snapshot showed that last August there were 42,360 claimants with alcohol addiction, 37,480 with drug dependency and 1,800 who were obese.

They indicated that 12,800 alcoholics and 9,200 drug addicts have been claiming the benefit for more than a decade, as well as about 600 people considered obese.

Mr Cameron said: “We are finding a large number of people who are on incapacity benefit because of drink problems, alcohol problems or problems with weight and diet.

“And I think a lot of people who pay their taxes and work hard will think: 'That's not what I pay my taxes for. I pay my taxes for people who are incapacitated through no fault of their own.'”

However, Alcohol Concern chief executive Don Shenker said he was concerned the government was not prepared to commit enough funds to tackle a shortage of treatment facilities for those with addictions.

And the disability charity Scope said the government had to stop over-simplifying welfare.

 

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