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.




  1. What if an obese person is over weight due to hormonal problems instead of poor diets? Someone who is over weight despite them eating healthy and exercises regular can be still over weight. There are diabetic people who look slim and fit in body too visa versa. Some diets work for some and not for others.

  2. I expect that soon he'll just stop messing about, and send them all to work camps.

  3. Another example of the fallacy of the right's desire for 'smaller government'. They just want less accountability for themselves. When it comes to working class people, there is no such thing for them as 'too authoritarian.'

  4. It would be simpler if the government put them on a trans-fat free diet so their metabolisms could recover.

  5. Just another way to fill the coffers of the Tory's rich supporters on the backs of the sick and disabled. He is a despicable human being.

  6. This is going to target people with mental health problems even more, because some antidepressant and antipsychotic medications can cause weight gain. Also, people with mental health problems may lack motivation to exercise or otherwise take steps to lose weight.

    • You are absolutely right. I gained 2 stone after a change of medications for bipolar. Fortunately with the support of my psychiatrist I changed medications which meant I had to have a respite care placement for over a week. But this meant I could loose the weight. However I am still about 4 stone over weight.

  7. Who is going to pay for the diet? How can jobseekers buy the diet and then also feed a family? £45 can feed a whole family for a week, is the diet going to be provided for free?

  8. This is dangerous and will not work in the long term. Weight loss can only be sustained over the long term by lifestyle change. For those who take medication which has weight gain as a side effect this kind of weight loss will create a yo yo diet pattern which has been proved to be very unhealthy in the long term.

  9. Why not consider starting a welfare system to help malnourished people, who find themselves under this governments perverse sanctioning laws. I myself have only eaten a few scraps of bread this week. I was 10 stone before this government entered power, I'm only 7 stone now.

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