Skip to main content

Social Security Benefits: Drugs

Volume 502: debated on Monday 7 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of the number of people on the trial programme to have lost benefit entitlement as a result of testing positive for drugs. (301380)

The Department for Work and Pensions is not currently running any trial programme in which people have lost, or indeed could lose, benefit entitlement as a result of testing positive for drugs.

Arrangements are included in the Welfare Reform Act November 2009 to enable pilots for problem drug users within the benefit system, to take place from autumn 2010 in Central London, Cumbria and Lancashire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, Birmingham and Solihull.

These pilots will offer additional support to those problem drug users already in treatment. In return, and in order to receive benefit payments, they will also test an approach in which claimants with a drug dependency that is a barrier to employment, and who are not already receiving drug treatment, will be required to sign up to a rehabilitation plan that will outline how they will engage with the help that is available to them to overcome their addiction. That is to say that doing nothing will no longer be an option for this group.

While these provisions will also allow for people on benefits to be required to take drug tests in certain limited and prescribed circumstances, there will be no loss of entitlement as a result of any positive test.