Tobacco and alcohol would be off limits under smart-card welfare scheme

| October 15, 2012

UK Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, is aiming to prevent welfare money from being spent on cigarettes and alcohol, according to a story in the Telegraph relayed by the TMA.

Smith has apparently directed department officials to study whether welfare recipients should receive their payments on smart cards, rather than in cash, with the cards limited for use only on ‘priority’ items, such as food, housing, clothing, education and health care.

One of Smith’s close aides said the secretary was serious about the issue because some claimants were spending their welfare money to “fund a habit and children are going hungry.”

The smart cards would be modelled after Australia’s ‘basics card’ scheme, under which claimants use electronic ‘credit’ cards to purchase ‘priority’ items at approved stores across the country.

Smith said he was against using US-style food stamps because they were often traded as a form of currency.

Category: Breaking News

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