Date Published: 22 February 2011

The Mental Health Foundation responds to the (UK) Welfare Reform Bill

Mental Health issues - UK

The UK charity "The Mental Health Foundation", which is concerned with mental health research as well as government policy and the improvement of mental health services in the UK has recently commented on the Welfare Reform Bill 2011 which was introduced to the UK parliament on 16 February 2011.

The Welfare Reform Bill (2011) introduces a wide range of reforms "that will deliver the commitment made in the Coalition Agreement and the Queen's Speech to make the benefits and tax credits systems fairer and simpler by:

  • creating the right incentives to get more people into work by ensuring work always pays
  • protecting the most vulnerable in our society
  • delivering fairness to those claiming benefit and to the taxpayer.*"

Simon Lawton Smith, Head of Policy at The Mental Health Foundation said in a statement released on 22nd February that:

" We welcome the intention of the Welfare Reform Bill to simplify the welfare system and introduce a Universal Credit. Many people with mental health problems find the benefits jungle very complex. And the new rules that people can keep some benefits when they start earning should help remove the fear that the system will punish people for doing some paid work.
_ We also welcome the commitment to support more people into work. The vast majority of people with mental health problems want to work, but face discrimination and a lack of support.
_ However, we have serious concerns about how the changes may actually impact on many people with mental health problems. The language of conditionality and sanctions with the threat of a loss of benefit could, if handled insensitively, worsen the condition of people off work due to an anxiety or depressive disorder.

*Source: DWP website.
Further information about the UK Welfare Reform Bill 2011 is available from the website of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Source: Mental Health Foundation, UK - from Press Release.

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