Iain Duncan Smith has explored the possibility of putting overweight benefit claimants on to celebrity diets, the Sunday Express has reported today (14 Sept’ 2014).
According to the newspaper, a letter written by Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) to the health Secretary Jeremy Hunt showed that IDS was exploring the possibility of putting claimants who struggle to control their weight on to a celebrity rapid weight loss diet.
The £45-a-week liquids-only ‘Cambridge Diet’ is the brain-child of one of IDS’ constituents, Ruth Barber, and Weight Plan medical director Professor Anthony Leeds.
After a meeting this month it was claimed that the diet had already helped obese benefit claimants back into work and could help a further 8,000.
IDS later wrote to Ms Barber informing her that he was considering recommending the Cambridge Diet for obese jobseekers.
“I have written to the Health Secretary to make him aware of the Cambridge Weight Plan. I have also asked my department to investigate the possibility of introducing this as an option for those who are too obese to work.”
The Sunday Express reports that the Cambridge Diet is backed by a number of celebrities including actress Jennifer Ellison, who lost two stone in only two months after limiting her food consumption to less than 800 calories a day.
The DWP has denied that the government is considering recommending the diet for obese benefit claimants.
“DWP is not looking into this”, they told the Daily Express. “Iain Raised it with Department for Health as a constituency MP”.
Understandably, many of our readers will see this as yet another attempt to demonise benefit claimants. Particularly as it comes from a right-wing newspaper with a long history of doing exactly that. However, it may also show how IDS will go to extraordinary lengths in his attempts to do the same. Whereas it is correct to help people control their weight for a number of different reasons, it should never be a precondition for social security benefits – if indeed that was being considered.
Find out more: Daily (Sunday) Express – WNS is not responsible for the content from third-party sites.