Wednesday 24 July 2024
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Budget 2021: Charity boss fears rise in mental health issues for poorest Nottingham families

A Nottingham charity boss predicts a ‘hike in mental health issues’ following the budget announcement and Universal Credit cuts.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak presented the Government’s budget yesterday, saying he had “cut taxes for millions of the lowest-paid”.

But think tank The Resolution Foundation forecast that the budget is pushing the UK to be a higher tax economy, amounting to an increase of £3,000 per household since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.

Community Group Leader Marcellus Baz BEM, who runs Switch Up, which empowers young people in Nottingham, said there will be an impact on mental health in the city as we head towards winter.

He said: “People are trying to recover from the Universal Credit cut and there is a hike in National Insurance, gas and electric.

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“It is contributing towards people’s mental health.

“It is a stressful time for families coming up to Christmas and there is a high rate of suicide and family units breaking up at this time.

“The way things are going there will be a hike in mental health issues and crime and violence.”

The Resolution Foundation report published today stated: “The reduction in the taper rate in Universal Credit will bring an additional 400,000 families into the benefits system next year. Around 75 per cent of the 4.4 million households on Universal Credit will be worse off as a result of decisions to take away the £20 per week uplift despite the Chancellor’s new Universal Credit measures in the Budget.”

In his speech, Mr Sunak said: “This Budget helps with the cost of living.
“This Budget levels up to a higher-wage, higher-skill, higher-productivity economy.
“This Budget builds a stronger economy for the British people.”

“Ask any charitable organisation, we are exhausted.

“The system is so broken, people are not getting the support they need for mental health.

“But we need to be proactive rather than reactive.”

City Council portfolio holder for finances and resources, Councillor Sam Webster said the authority wanted a “fair deal for Nottingham” following the Chancellor’s announcement yesterday.

He said: “We are still waiting for more detail from the Chancellor’s announcements today, but there is no getting away from the fact that the people of Nottingham now receive over £100 million less funding each year for local services such as libraries, parks and care for older people than they did ten years ago.

“While the Chancellor announced more money for council services, I am concerned that this new money is set to come from the Government’s Social Care Precept which has been making up the bulk of Council Tax increases in recent years. Hiking up Council Tax bills further would be another huge blow to stretched household finances.

“Many councils have been pointing out to the Chancellor and the Prime Minister that without a reversal in the Government’s funding cuts to local areas, there is a high risk of some services which people rely upon and value being reduced or stopping altogether. All we’ve ever asked for is a fair deal for Nottingham.”

However, Nottingham Conservative MP Ben Bradley pointed to reductions on beer and cider duty, the continued freeze on fuel duty, and spending on schools as evidence people would benefit from this budget.

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