Saturday , February 27 2021

COVID-19: Mental health services to receive £ 500m cash boost after ‘high impact’ pandemic | UK News

The chancellor will announce a £ 500m package to support mental health services following the “major impact” of the coronary virus pandemic.

Rishi Sunak will pledge the new funding in his Spending Review on Wednesday, when he will also deliver on his long-term plan for infrastructure investment, the Treasury said.

The majority of expenditure is planned to go into specialist services for young people, including in schools, and support for NHS workers.

But Mr Sunak, who will be appearing on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday program from 8.30am, is expected to pledge a rapid increase to tackle the backlog of adult mental health referrals.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak will publish his Spending Review on Wednesday

The government estimates that mental illness costs the economy up to £ 35bn a year, and hopes the package will address the additional demand for services from the pandemic.

Mr Sunak said: “The pandemic has had a major impact on mental health due to increased isolation and uncertainty.

“So it is vital that we do all we can to support our mental health services and make people available for help.

“This funding will ensure that those who need help get the right support as soon as possible so that they do not have to suffer in silence.”

Mr Sunak’s spending review is long awaited, but could also trigger industrial action if he confirms that the government will enforce a a pay cap on millions of public sector workers.

Unions reacted angrily to reports that the chancellor would announce a pay cap, although NHS front-line doctors and nurses are expected to be exempt.

Labour’s shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, urged Mr Sunak to use his spending to prevent a return to the conditions that allowed the UK to be “hit so badly by the pandemic”.

He said the chancellor must “lay the foundations for that recovery” in his set piece financial update on Wednesday to prevent stocks of protective equipment declining, local services returning to “on their knees”, and families having leaving them with little savings and “struggling with living costs”.

“And that must include working together to build a better, safer future for our country, so that we don’t fall back on the fragility and instability of the way it was,” he told a local government conference the Co-operative Party.

Mr Sunak will also unveil the much-delayed National Infrastructure Strategy for £ 100bn of long-term spending to help tackle the climate crisis and transport investment.

It was also confirmed that Mr Sunak will change the Treasury’s “green book”, a set of rules to determine the value of government plans believed to favor London and the south east.

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