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Responding to the figures, Tom Pollard, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Mind said:
“It’s hugely concerning that the Work Programme is still failing to support people with mental health problems into jobs. On top of this inappropriate support, many people find the constant threat of benefit sanctions is making them feel more unwell and less able to work."
“We support the Government’s aspiration of helping more people with mental health problems to find work, but the current approach needs completely overhauling if it is to provide appropriate and effective support. People on ESA should be taken off the Work Programme and moved onto specialist, personalised and local schemes."
“We already know of schemes, such as WorkPlace Leeds, delivered by Leeds Mind, which cost much less than the Work Programme and achieve far better outcomes, with 32 per cent of people with severe and enduring mental health problems gaining paid employment."
“The Government needs to learn the lessons from effective schemes like these in order to reshape the support offered to people with mental health problems. This would help to achieve long term, sustainable savings to the welfare budget, as opposed to making short-sighted cuts to disability benefits, which would only make it harder for people with mental health problems to recover and live independent lives.”
*162130 people with mental health problems have been attached to the Work Programme. Of this number, only 13380 (or 8 per cent) have gained employment.