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Centre for Mental Health responds to Labour General Election 2024 manifesto

13 June 2024

Responding to the Labour General Election 2024 manifesto, Andy Bell, chief executive at Centre for Mental Health, said: “We welcome Labour’s commitment to expanding the mental health workforce with at least 8,500 more staff in the next five years, to providing specialist mental health professionals in all schools, and to investing in open-access mental health hubs in every community as part of its Young Futures programme. These are necessary improvements in the availability of mental health support across the country. They must be accompanied by the right levels of investment in effective and equitable mental health support for people of all ages. Too many people are missing out on the support they need, and this needs to change if Labour is to live up to its promise to give mental health the same ‘attention and focus’ as physical health.

“We welcome Labour’s pledge to modernise the Mental Health Act and to enact a trans-inclusive ban on conversion practices in the next Parliament. These are essential measures to protect people’s rights, dignity and safety that need to be enacted early in the next Parliament.

“We are heartened to see Labour’s pledge to improve employment support for disabled people, to reform or replace the harmful Work Capability Assessment, and to speed up the Access to Work scheme. It is vital that people with mental health difficulties get the right employment support. It is therefore disappointing that Labour has not committed to ending the harmful use of benefit conditions and sanctions on disabled people.

“We welcome Labour’s promise of a child poverty strategy, renters’ reform, and a new Race Equality Act. These will all address many of the biggest social determinants of our mental health, if they are backed up by practical and sustained action. But we are very disappointed that Labour has not committed to end the two-child limit for Child Benefit, which causes hardship to so many families. And we are concerned that the manifesto provides little detail about how it would reform the asylum system to create safe routes for refugees and end current ‘hostile environment’ policies.

“We welcome Labour’s commitment to improve both prison and probation services, but are concerned that its plans to build more prisons, rather than investing in community sentencing and diversion options, will be a missed opportunity to create a justice system that is fit for the future.

“We are disappointed that Labour has not committed to a cross-government mental health plan in the next Parliament. We urge the party, if it forms the next government, to take this essential extra step, and to review the machinery of government so that all of its policies are designed to boost the public’s mental health.

“All political parties must commit to adopting a long-term, cross-government strategy for mental health, supported by adequate and sustainable funding. We urge whoever forms the next government to make mental health a priority so that we can achieve the vision set out in A Mentally Healthier Nation.”

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