People on benefits should be barred from buying fags and booze, according to a Tory MP who was branded “vile” today.
Alec Shelbrooke, the MP for Elmet and Rothwell, wants claimants to be given a welfare cash card to stop them from buying “unnecessary items.”
His legislation would apply to all people on benefits – including those receiving working tax credits.
He said the welfare cash card would prevent claimants from spending money on “NEDDs” – non-essential, desirable and often damaging – products such as alcohol, cigarettes, paid-for TV channels and gambling.
“The Welfare Cash Card has the potential for more social good, not least assisting efforts to eradicate child poverty.
“Statistics show that over 1.26 million claimants have children. Prohibiting the purchases of NEDD items such as cigarettes and alcohol, leaves more money for priority purchases on children,” he said.
“Even if this Bill creates the slightest chance of raising these children out of poverty, reducing the chances of them going to school hungry or simply being subjected to secondary inhalation of smoke, then I would argue it is worth it,” he said.
Labour MP Teresa Pearce, a member of the Work and Pensions select committee, said this was further proof how that the Conservatives were out of touch.
“This shows nothing has changed about the Tory Party. They have always thought that anyone down on their luck is fecklesss, which is ridiculous.
“I have hundreds of people in my constituency who would do anything for a job, they are strivers. His comments are just awful and vile,” she said.