Plans to remove benefits criticised

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Drugs charities yesterday criticised Government plans to withdraw welfare benefits from addicts who refuse treatment, saying there was no evidence it would work and could breach medical principles.

The Home Office is considering some form of "financial benefit sanction" for claimants who fail to address their drug or alcohol dependency. But social security advisers said such a move could drive addicts back into a life of crime.

The idea was raised in a Home Office consultation on the Government's drug strategy for England, Wales and Scotland.