London: About 2,000 people in Britain, who are on benefit because they are too fat to work, are costing taxpayers 10 million pounds a year.
A breakdown of official figures said the number claiming the handout had almost doubled since 1997 to 1,950, the Mail Online reported Saturday.
One in four adult Britons is thought to be technically obese, but to claim incapacity benefit they must be so overweight that they cannot hold a job.
Last year, it cost nearly 10 million pounds to keep the overweight claimants on weekly incapacity benefit of 89.90 pounds a week, the report said.
In 1997, the number claiming incapacity benefit because of their obesity was 1,100.
Critics said the welfare state was discouraging overweight claimants from shedding the weight and becoming slim enough to work.
"It is a huge problem that we are paying so much in benefits to people who can`t work due to obesity," said Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers` Alliance.
"Being fat is not a permanent incapacity procedure - it is something that can be swiftly sorted out but the welfare state pays people to stay overweight."
The Conservatives announced last month that incapacity benefit would be axed by 2014 as part of moves to be tougher on the workshy.
Official figures show obesity costs the health service 4.2 billion pounds a year. Doctors estimate this will double by 2050 if the nation does not drop its bad eating habits and start exercising.
The number of patients admitted to hospital for weight-related complaints has risen seven-fold in a decade in Britain.