Live updates


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:

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.

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 café 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. 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.

"Super-sized" clinic for obese Londoners

A so-called "super-sized" clinic, designed specifically for obese patients, has opened in west London.

Managers of the private clinic says it's the first of its kind in Britain and that it's aim is to protect patients from embarrassment while they're being treated.

Glen Goodman has more.