Obese and other unhealthy people could be monitored to check whether they are taking exercise and have their benefits cut if they fail to do so under proposals published on Thursday by a Conservative-run council and a local government thinktank.
Westminster council and the Local Government Information Unit say new technologies such as smart cards could be used to track claimants’ use of leisure centres, allowing local authorities to dock housing and council benefit payments from those who refuse to carry out exercise prescribed by their GP.
True, it is local councils that will be doing this, not central government.
The report, A Dose of Localism: the Role of Councils in Public Health, precedes the transfer in April of responsibility for community wellbeing and public health from the NHS to local authorities.
But I can’t say that a good dose of health Stalinism is quite what we’d all hoped for from “localism” really.
How long before the mandatory early morning exercises in the local park while singing The Red Flag?