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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Bill for addicts far too much

THERE is certainly merit in offering support to those with drug and alcohol addictions.

And as they battle their demons with the help of counselling, it is right we give them some sort of financial support.

But it is clear that in Barrow, South Lakeland and Copeland, the situation has gone too far.

Figures are revealed today in a bid to highlight by the government why benefits reform is needed.

The statistics make for scary reading. The cost to the taxpayer for funding benefits for those with alcohol and drug dependencies is £32,000 a week across all three areas.

That’s a staggering £1.6m a year.

It seems clear then, that the system may be working – but in favour of those who spend their time abusing alcohol and illegal substances while taking what they can from hard-working members of society.

This cannot be right. If financial support is to be offered to those with problems, it should be the basis they agree to tackle their issues.

And payouts should be based on tests which recipients must take to prove they have not fallen off the wagon.

Ignoring those with problems should not be a consideration.

But allowing them the bleed the state dry, while using benefits cash to feed their habits, is not the way forward.

The government is right to identify that in these cases, reforms are needed. But the balance it strikes must be right.

By North West Evening Mail
Published: July 31, 2012

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