Keighley MP Kris Hopkins is seeking a change in the law to stop claimants spending welfare payments on non-essential items such as booze and cigarettes.

He has co-sponsored a parliamentary Bill, which would mean claimants being paid via electronic cash cards that could only be used for necessary provisions like food, clothing, energy, travel and housing.

Mr Hopkins said: “It is absolutely the case that no one should be allowed to fall through the welfare safety net, of which our country is rightly proud.

“However, at a time when hard-working individuals and families are being forced to cut back on non-essential items, it is simply wrong some individuals not in employment are able to enjoy luxuries at the expense of the taxpayer that those in work cannot afford.

“The Bill seeks to complement the Government’s ongoing reforms and those who strive to be self-supporting by ending the ‘something for nothing’ stigma of the welfare system.

“There are many people who rely on welfare payments who do want to work but have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own. Our welfare system is about a hand up, not a hand-out.”