Westminster City Council’s proposal to cut benefits for unhealthy or overweight people will be controlled using smart card technology.
In a document released this week called ‘A Dose of Localism’, Westminster is proposing that GPs prescribe leisure activities to help locals lose weight, and if these activities aren’t followed, benefits should be ‘varied to reward or incentivise residents’.
The Council has said that by using smart cards, where residents access local health facilities using the technology, GPs could monitor exercise patterns and make a decision on the person’s commitment to their prescription.
“Linking welfare measures to behaviours that promote public health. Relocalisation of council tax benefit and housing benefit combined with new technologies provide an opportunity for councils to embed financial incentives for behaviours that promote public health,” the report said.
“The increasing use of smart cards for access to leisure facilities, for instance, provides councils with a significant amount of data on usage patterns.”
It continued: “Where an exercise package is prescribed to a resident, housing and council tax benefit payments could be varied to reward or incentivise residents.”
Westminster City Council is currently running a trial in the West End of London using sensor technology and data analytics that could transform parking congestion in busy areas.