Rye MP Michael Foster is calling on Tories to back the Government's plans to stop benefits for crack and heroin addicts who refuse drug treatment programmes.
He said: "Up to 1,786 crack and heroin addicts in East Sussex get benefits with no questions asked.
"We should not let tax payers' money line the pockets of drugs dealers."
Speaking ahead of the second reading of the Welfare Reform Bill in Parliament on Tuesday, the MP said: "The Tories are wrong to let crack and heroin addicts get benefits without having to agree to rehabilitation.
"Labour want to require drug users to take up treatment or not receive state benefits. Without these conditions, taxpayers' money ends up lining drug dealers' pockets.
"An addict cannot sustain a crack or heroin habit on benefits levels and will already be getting money from other, possibly illegal, sources.
"Unless we break the cycle of addiction, we won't break the cycle of drug-related crime. It is wrong that we hand over benefit money to people knowing that the money will end up in the pockets of drugs dealers.
"It is estimated that there are 820 problem drug users in East Sussex who receive either Job Seekers Allowance or Incapacity Benefit. We should be encouraging these addicts to get clean - its better for them and its better for our area.
"I challenge my Conservative opponent to back Labour's plans for fair rules for drug addicts on benefits."
Labour's Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell said: "We will give drug users who play by the rules the chance to turn their lives around. In return, we will expect addicts in East Sussex to take up this support, so that benefits are going to help people overcome their problems, not into the pockets of drug dealers."
January 28, 2009
Rye And Battle Observer