Mental health services to get £1.25bn extra funding to treat 110,000 children, Nick Clegg announces

Funding will also help improve support for new mothers, who had previously struggled with a 'second-class mental health service'

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has announced that that £1.25bn of fresh funding over five years to treat 110,000 children with mental health issues in England will be unveiled in this week's budget.

At an additional £250m a year from 2015-16, this is a 35 per cent rise on the existing £700m budget to treat children with mental health disorders. Mr Clegg, who is at the Liberal Democrat spring conference in Liverpool this weekend, said this would create “a seismic shift to revolutionise children's mental healthcare”.

In his keynote speech tomorrow, Mr Clegg will point out that three children in every classroom suffer from mental health problems. He will say: “In out country there are thousands upon thousands of children with mental health problems who go without support or treatment... That can't be allowed to carry on.”

A Lib Dem said that the issue had been a “passion” of Mr Clegg's for many years. However, Labour's shadow public health spokeswoman, Luciana Berger, recently accused the coalition of “breaking its promise on mental health”, after a parliamentary answer revealed that spending on children's treatment had fallen by £50m in real terms between 2009-10 and 2012-13. The Lib Dem source admitted there had been problems that some NHS areas had cut services, but that this £1.25bn was guaranteed to be allocated to children's mental health under an agreement with NHS England.

Mr Clegg also announced that there will be the first-ever waiting tomes standards for children's mental health treatment. Specialists in children's speech therapy will be available in every part of the country from 2018.