Rethink Mental Illness statement on real-time benefit cuts

The Chancellor yesterday pledged to always be on the side of those who need help the most, but this is contradicted by the Prime Minister’s failure to commit to uprating benefits in line with inflation – the bare minimum government could do to show it recognises the hardship faced by people bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis.

Brian Dow, Deputy Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, told us:

“We’re growing ever more concerned that there is a lack of understanding at the heart of the debate about who is going to be impacted by this. Listening to the Prime Minister, you could easily fall into the trap of believing that benefits are only given to unemployed people who are able to actively seek full-time employment or add to their income. But the reality is that there are hundreds of thousands of people, including those living with severe mental illness, who rely on benefits because they’re too unwell to work.

“The Prime Minister tells us this is fiscally responsible, but it will serve to exclude people from the economy. It is a reckless way to approach the nation’s mental health, threatening to make people more unwell and create further barriers to work. So not only is this unjustifiably cruel, but it makes bad economic sense because it risks pushing more people into crisis. We also need to recognise that it can cost lives, and puts people at greater risk of suicide. Our benefits system should work in tandem with the clinical care provided by the NHS, and social care, to support people to live and thrive in the community. But this does the opposite."

“The Prime Minister must wake up to the serious consequences of these potentially savage cuts. If Liz Truss ignores pleas to uprate benefits in line with inflation and enforce austerity 2.0. this will be a betrayal of the very people her government says it sides with.”

Notes to editors

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