I wonder how many poor people, far less people on welfare, Mr Shelbrooke encounters. Some, presumably. But, my, what a vile little authoritarian he is. It has evidently escaped his notice that the reason many poor people spend a disproportionate quantity of their meagre resources on gambling is that they have such limited resources in the first place. It may not be an advisable or profitable policy but it is at least an understandable one.For that matter, cigarettes and alcohol are not necessarily luxuries. They might instead be considered small pleasures that make life a little less ghastly. Especially when you lack means.I notice, mind you, that Mr Shelbrooke makes no comment on whether it is OK for middle-class mothers to spend their child benefit on gin.
"When hard-working families up and down the country are forced to cut back on such non-essential, desirable, it is right that taxpayer benefits be only used for essential purposes."