Tom Brake MP has accused the Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Government of letting down some of the most vulnerable people with mental health problems.
Tom claims the Government are failing to meet their most basic needs.
At the moment, the Government only considers physical health when defining a person as vulnerable. This means that people with mental health conditions or who are homeless cannot be classified as vulnerable and will struggle to qualify for hardship payments. These are available to support people without food or housing.
The Government responded to Tom saying it “will consider extending the definition of ‘at risk’ groups for hardship payment purposes to include those with mental health conditions and those who are homeless”.
Tom Brake MP said:
“Hardship payments can be a lifeline to individuals who struggle with paying for accommodation, heating and hygiene needs.
Mental illnesses can be socially, economically, intellectually, mentally and physically disabling and that’s why I’m calling on the Government to extend the hardship fund to be available for individuals who suffer from mental health conditions.
The Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for mental health to be given the attention and funding it needs. I was very proud that in Government, we wrote mental health equality into law, introducing the first ever waiting time standards in mental health.”