Anti-obesity drive

Obese benefits claimants who refuse to exercise could have their payments cut under plans being considered by a local council.

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Think-tank's controversial proposal for cutting obesity

A think-tank's proposal that obese benefits claimants, who refuse to exercise, should have their payments cut, has sparked heated debate on Twitter:

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@itvlondon excellent idea if they can't help themselves why should we as tax payers fund them.

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@itvlondon obviously the council is desperate to cut benefits#clutchingatstraws

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@itvlondon for some its not just about going to the gym, its not always that simple

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Could your weight be linked to benefit payouts in future?

A new report from a government think tank has suggested that overweight benefit claimants could have their money docked if they refuse exercise regimes prescribed by doctors under pioneering council plans. We asked you if this was a good idea, here are some of your thoughts.

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.@itvlondon Rather than cutting benefits for the obese, improve public spaces and encourage people to exercise #getoutdoors .@savingnature

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@itvlondon Great idea. It's about time we used the benefit system that we fund via our taxes for the people that really need it

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@itvlondon MP's should lead by example, expenses should be tied pro rata to attendance and Lardy Lords told to get on their bikes.

Report: Councils can save lives while cutting NHS bill

A major new report from a leading think-tank and a flagship London council is paving the way for radical reform in public health from April 2013.

A Dose of Localism: The Role of Council in Public Health is a report by the Local Government Information Unit and Westminster City Council which outlines recommendations to implement early intervention techniques and link them to existing council services to help save more lives and money.

It includes details on:

  • Linking welfare to healthy living; cash incentives in terms of benefits for those that use council leisure facilities and rewarding those that take responsibility for their own health
  • Allowing GPs to prescribe leisure activities like swimming and fitness classes as treatment for certain conditions
  • Reducing red tape for smaller, non-alcohol-led venues to encourage a more responsible approach to drinking and create the cafĂ© culture that 24-hour drinking laws promised but never delivered

Obese claimants who refuse to exercise could have benefits cut

An obese man in London.
An obese man in London. Credit: PA

Obese benefits claimants who refuse to exercise could have their payments cut under plans being considered by a local council.

The initiative would see obese and overweight people being prescribed physical activity sessions by their GP at the council's leisure facilities and then being penalised if they fail to turn up or rewarded if they do.

Westminster City Council will publish a report on the scheme today in conjunction with the think-tank the Local Government Information Unit.

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