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British Psychological Society warns of mental health impact of Universal Credit cut

06 October 2021

The British Psychological Society has warned of devastating consequences for people’s mental health as the government presses ahead with the £20 cut to Universal Credit.

Julia Faulconbridge, from the BPS’ Division of Clinical Psychology, said:

“This week’s decision by the government to cut Universal Credit by £20-a-week will have devastating consequences for people’s mental health and wellbeing. Poverty is one of the major risk-factors for the development of physical and mental health problems and we know that children growing up in poverty are three-to-four times more likely to develop mental health problems, so this decision is a huge blow to the families that rely on this income.”

“Cutting Universal Credit at a time of such uncertainty and difficulty will seriously damage the health, wellbeing and life chances of the most vulnerable. This decision will see health inequalities widen, placing more pressure on our already stretched and underfunded public services, as well as intensifying the mental health difficulties of people already struggling with rising debts, reduced income and soaring living costs.

“We have to question the government’s commitment to ‘levelling up’ when the reduction in benefits risks cutting millions of families adrift at a time when they need support the most. The stress of raising a family in poverty can have huge ramifications on parents’ mental health. This cut, combined with the current patch-work of grants to cover basic necessities, will exacerbate the feeling of uncertainty and instability that families are already facing, particularly while still feeling the effects of the pandemic.

“There is still time for the government to do the right thing and reinstate the £20 to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit at the Autumn Budget and ensure families on legacy benefits, such as Employment Support Allowance, Job Seekers Allowance and Income Support, are included.”

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