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Obese and addicts 'trapped on IB'

More than 80,000 people are claiming incapacity benefit for obesity and addiction to alcohol and drugs, according to the latest Government figures.

Some 12,880 alcoholics and 9,200 drug abusers have been dependent on the benefit for more than 10 years.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said the benefits system had trapped people in a "cycle of addiction and welfare dependency".

The figures, released by the Department for Work and Pensions, are a snapshot of incapacity benefit (IB) claimants in August 2010.

Since February this year, no new IB claims have been accepted.

Existing claimants are now being reassessed to see whether they are fit to work straight away or need help first through the Employment and Support Allowance.

The figures show that 81,670 IB claimants are not working because they are obese (1,830) or suffering from drug (37,480) or alcohol problems (42,360).

Some 660 obese people have been claiming IB for more than a decade.

In total, there are 2.1 million IB claimants and the total yearly IB bill is £7 billion.

Mr Grayling said: "It's not fair on anyone for this situation to continue. Far from being the safety net it should be, the benefits system has trapped thousands of people in a cycle of addiction and welfare dependency with no prospect of getting back to work."


From Belfast Telegraph