Comprehensive Spending Review
Posted Wednesday 20 October 2010
Today the Government will announce its Comprehensive Spending Review. I know many of our supporters – and people across the country – are braced for bad news. After the announcement, there may still be many areas where plans have not been finalised, which means there is still time to continue to fight for benefits, services and opportunities for people with experience of mental health problems.
The official announcement will be made at 12.30 today. Our Policy and Campaigns team will post updates and thoughts here, as we are able. In the meantime, please use the comments section below to tell us what you’re thinking today. We’ll be checking them throughout the day.
Update 12.35: Osborne states that the government has chosen to invest in healthcare and to cut waste and reform the welfare system that we can no longer afford.
Update 12.46: Osborne says: three principles for this review are growth, fairness and reform.
We say: real concerns about the review disproportionately hitting people with mental health problems which have yet to be properly answered.
Update 12.55: Despite reduction in department budgets there will be support for big society projects and community organisers. We want to find out more about this and how it can support people experiencing mental distress
He says: Expansion of personal budgets for people with long term health conditions. We say: We know that personal budgets can make a real difference to people with mental health problems and give them independence. However, people need to be properly supported in accessing and using personal budgets, and they won't work for everyone. We've made clear to government that people need proper choice and support.
Update 12.59: BBC health correspondent Branwen Jeffreys says: NHS confederation warns that cuts in local council budgets will have knock on-effect on health service.
Update 13.03: The BBC's Iain Watson says: The chancellor points out that councils in England will face cuts of not 25% but more than 28%, though they will have greater powers to borrow, and the government will take £1bn form the "protected" NHS budget in England to help meet the costs of social care. This raises the question of just how protected the NHS budget really is, if some of its budget will pay for services which are usually delivered via local authorities.
Update 13.04: Justice Green Paper will set out plans to intervene early to prevent people with mental health problems ending up in the prisons system.
Update 13.10: No cut to 'visibility' of police, but no guarantee of police numbers. What will this mean for the important work that mental health liaison officers do?
Update 13.17: "We will increase access to talking therapies". No details as yet but welcome commitment - Mind has heavily been campaigning on this, with the release of our We need to talk report just last week.
Update 13.17: £7 billion savings from the welfare budget. DWP need to find further savings from £200 billion benefit bill on top of those identified in the budget.
Update 13.33: Welfare updates:
- One year limit on contribution-based Employment Support Allowance (ESA), meaning that after a year claims for ESA are will be restricted to those with less than £16,000 in savings and, if you have a partner or civil partner, they work for less than 24 hours a week on average.
- Universal Credit introduced over the next two parliaments, with £2bn put aside to pay for this.
- Disability Living Allowance excluded from the cap on benefits received by one household.
- The Treasury points to the fact that health spending has been protected in real terms and the spending review has provided some additional funding to maintain current levels of care as a decision which "relatively protect[s]" disabled people's access to these services.
- It makes clear that in order to protect these areas of government spending, it has made savings in other areas, largely in welfare. The Treasury states that "some" people will be affected by a new time limit of one year on the contributory part of the ESA benefit around work related activity. This means that for some people they will no longer receive ESA after one year. It also states that the impact of this will also be mitigated for the most severely disabled and those on low incomes. The Treasury doesn't give specific figures so we'll be chasing them up for this to see how many people are likely to be affected. The Treasury expects savings of around £2 billion from this change.
- Confirmation that Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants are exempted from the new cap on total household welfare payments.
Update 17.50: Thank you all for reading and commenting today. We will continue to pore over today's announcements, and in the days to come will try to form a clearer picture of just what it all means for people with experience of mental distress. We will have more blog posts, news and analysis tomorrow and in the days to come, so please do continue to check back on www.mind.org.uk/blog.
In the meantime, please do continue to use the comments section below.
Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns
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