David Cameron has launched a review of the benefits system targeting alcoholics and drugs addicts. He claims the current system, which supports people who are unable to work, allows addicts to refuse treatment without any repercussions.
The government claims that around 100,000 people with treatable conditions like alcohol addiction, drug addiction and obesity claim Employment and Support Allowance funds. Cameron believes that the current system does nothing to encourage people to get treatment. He has appointed the tasking of investigating the effects of a new benefit system to Dame Carol Black who is a Department of Health advisor.
If the government approves the new plan, people who did not accept help and treatment for treatable illnesses could have their benefits withheld.
In a statement, Cameron said, "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 get back to a life of work."
Similar proposals in the past have been criticised because there is no scientific evidence to suggest that cutting benefits will force people to change. Addiction charities have also fought such changes because they believe the cuts would punish people for a disease.
Opponents of the proposal argue that addicts want to change but their disease makes change very difficult. These people say that forcing someone into treatment is not a good way to tackle mental health problems. More importantly, removing support from those struggling with addictions or other issues could force these people out of their homes or push them into even more desperate circumstances.
Deputy chairman Suzanne Evans said: "The government obviously doesn't care about those with weight or addiction problems, it is just ideologically driven by its contempt for those on benefits and its need to get the benefits bill down at all costs."