Our Head of Policy and Public Affairs has called for more investment in counselling and psychotherapy to support people with financial worries.
Martin Bell was commenting after the Chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced measures in his Spring Statement to tackle the cost of living crisis, alongside economic measures to strengthen innovation and growth.
He said: "We’d like to have seen the Chancellor provide additional investment in mental health services today, including counselling and psychotherapy, to support those with financial worries as part of a more holistic response.
"This also needs to be a core feature of the UK Government’s expected Mental Health Strategy, and we’d like to see clear timescales for the publication of that important review.”
Key measures in the Spring Statement to help tackle the cost of living crisis included:
- Personal tax savings – a rise in NI thresholds by £3k per annum (equalised to the Income Tax threshold at £12,570 from July) together with a promise to cut basic rate of income tax will also be cut by 1p in the pound in 2024
- Reductions to fuel duty – 5p per litre cut for next year from 6pm today
- Improving energy efficiency – VAT scrapped on Green Home Improvement Measures
- Supporting those in fuel poverty – doubling of Household Support Fund for vulnerable families to £1bn
There were also measures aimed at small businesses which included an increase to the Employment Allowance of £1,000, allowing SMEs to reduce their employers’ National Insurance contributions bills each year from £4,000 to £5,000, from 6 April. As a result, the Government says an extra 50,000 small businesses will be taken out of paying National Insurance contributions and the Health and Social Care Levy.
This comes on top of support previously announced for this April including the 50% business rate relief for eligible retail, hospitality, and leisure properties, alongside the Help to Grow Management and Digital schemes.
Martin said: "Without real action to tackle escalating energy and living costs or to uprate benefits, today’s announcements will have little impact on the poorest in our society, and many experts are predicting that millions more families will sadly face being pulled into poverty and debt, in the midst of this historic crisis.
"Given the interrelationship between financial security and mental health, we expect levels of those needing mental health support will grow further as this cost of living crisis deepens."
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