Budget 2018: Mental health services to receive £2bn per year boost, Philip Hammond will say

Injection of money forms part of PM's £20bn package for the NHS announced earlier this year

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Sunday 28 October 2018 23:58
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Budget 2018: new mental health services to be introduced to 'end stigma', Philip Hammond says

Mental health services are to be given a £2bn per year boost as part of the government’s package for the NHS, Philip Hammond will announce in the Budget.

The Chancellor will say on Monday the money will go towards making mental health support available in every A&E department, and include an increase in specialist ambulances across the country.

The injection of funds into mental health provisions, the Treasury said, will form part of a £20bn package announced by Theresa May earlier this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the creation of the health service.

No11 said mental health services will receive an investment of at least £2bn a year in real terms by 2023-24.

As the chancellor unveils his Budget in parliament on Monday, he is expected to detail how the extra billions for the NHS – announced in June – will be funded.

The earmarked cash for mental health services follows an admission from Matt Hancock, the health and social care secretary, that mental health treatment is still failing six years after the government promised dramatic change.

He acknowledged there is a significant gap in services – despite a 2021 act pledging “parity” of care with physical health – saying at the time: “It’s still way off where we need to be.”

On Sunday, the Treasury added that 55,000 adults with severe mental ill health will be provided with help by the health service to secure employment through a work placement and support scheme.

The £2bn is also expected to be used to create specialist teams for young people, with schools having new dedicated support units to help pupils with “mild and moderate mental health problems”.

But Labour’s shadow health minister, Barbara Keeley, questioned the funding. “If this announcement is simply money that’s already been promised, it will do little to relieve the severe pressures on mental health services that have built up because of this Tory government’s relentless underfunding of the NHS,” she said.

“People with mental health conditions cannot afford to wait five years for meaningful action from this government: too many are already waiting many months to access the treatment.”

Earlier this month, the prime minister appointed the first ever minister for suicide prevention, as part of a £1.8m push to reduce the number of people taking their own lives.

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In a separate announcement on Sunday, the Treasury also unveiled a £60m pledge to plant more trees across England in an “ongoing drive to preserve the country’s greenery” and ensure “we are leaving the environment in a better state for the next generation”.

Two pots of cash will be unveiled including £10m for new trees in streets and urban areas, to be matched by funding contributions from local authorities, community groups and charities, officials said.

On top of this, up to £50m will be available to purchase carbon credits from landowners who plant qualifying woodland, providing for an estimated 10 million new trees over the next 30 years.

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