Letter from Jim Dobbin MP to Tony McNulty MP (Work & Pensions) (23 February 2009)

House of Commons Portcullis

H O U S E   O F   C O M M O N S

APPGITA – All Party Parliamentary Group for
Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

February 23, 2009

The Right Honourable Tony McNulty MP
Department for Work and Pensions
Caxton House
Tothill Street
London
SW1H 9DA

Dear Tony,

Thank you for your letter of 11/2/09 regarding our meeting on Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction and the Welfare Reform Bill. Please find enclosed information on Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction.

We explained to you our belief that many of the people on long term benefit are there because of Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction and that withdrawal services are not provided by the Department of Health for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction.

Our suggestion is that specialised services should be provided by the government to Involuntary Tranquilliser Addicts (1.5 million plus) in order to help them back to work. We have provided costings by CITA for withdrawal services which we believe are extremely cost-effective when compared with leaving an individual on tranquillisers and benefit for many years or decades.

At the moment the Welfare Reform Bill intends to introduce a pilot project of back to work support for heroin and cocaine users. There is the possibility that support for further groups will be introduced when the pilot is assessed at the 30-month mark. We believe this is an unfair sequence. The provision of services for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction is delayed and made dependent upon the response of a completely different group of people – voluntary illegal drug addicts.

Involuntary Tranquilliser Addicts will have to await the response of this unreliable group of people, who already have an enormous amount of money spent upon them. If the assessment of the pilot is negative, Involuntary Tranquilliser Addicts will never get the opportunity to benefit from the provisions of the Welfare Reform Bill. I am sure you will agree that this is not only unfair, but also a missed opportunity for the Welfare Reform Bill to return a large group of people back to work.

Yours sincerely,

Jim Dobbin MP

cc. The Rt. Hon. Alan Johnson M.P.
The Rt. Hon. James Purnell MP
The Rt. Hon. Dawn Primarolo MP
Phil Woolas MP
Professor Heather Ashton
Pam Armstrong
Barry Haslam

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