Commenting on the Chancellor’s Budget and Spending Review, Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said:
“Today’s announcements were an opportunity for the Government to ‘build back better’ on mental health. Instead, what we have is a patchwork of uncoordinated measures. Some, like support for young children and their families and funding for youth centres, are welcome and will certainly help those lucky enough to benefit from them.
“But, as the scale of the pandemic’s effect on mental health becomes apparent, the government has been unable to articulate a vision of a mentally healthier society and create a clear, costed plan to reduce and prevent the high and increasing rates of mental health problems.
“Mental health is just as important as physical health, yet it remains the poor relation when it comes to government spending. It beggars belief that the government has not reversed cuts to public health spending, which is so vital for preventing mental health problems.
“Other decisions will actively increase risks to people’s mental health. While the increase in the living wage is welcome, the removal of the £20 Universal Credit uplift will exacerbate poverty and people out of work won’t benefit from the reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate. Research is clear that poverty is devastating for mental health.
“Against the backdrop of stalled progress on reducing suicide rates, and with one in six children now having a probable diagnosable mental health problem, today’s budget and spending review is a missed opportunity to level up the deep inequalities that run through our society and damage our mental health.”