UKCP responds to the government’s 2020 Spending Review

Welcome measures

We welcome the £260 million funding boost to Health Education England – which we had called for in our submission to the government – with whom we are working to ensure the NHS has greater access to the psychotherapy and counselling workforce.

We also welcome the £500 million additional funding earmarked to reduce mental health waiting times and expand services, though we await further detail from the government on exactly what this will entail.

With additional funding now committed for the next financial year, we urge the government to bring forward workforce expansion plans currently set for 2024. We know there are thousands of highly trained psychotherapists and counsellors who are ready to play a role in filling gaps across mental health services.

We also urge the government to use funds allocated to the charity sector to provide sustained support for voluntary sector mental health providers outside of the NHS who are performing a vital function amidst the pressures of the pandemic, and have only received stop-gap support thus far.


Difficult times ahead

Sadly, today the Chancellor also highlighted that we have yet to reach the economic peak of this crisis, with unemployment set to reach 7.5% in the Spring. It is vital that the government learns from the financial crisis of 2007/8, the subsequent unemployment, and the enormous knock-on consequences for the nation’s mental health. While we welcome the funding boosts announced today, it is still not clear that the government has got to grips with the scale of what is coming.

We therefore urge the government to look for further ways in which it can address the mental health consequences of the pandemic – including continuing the increase in Universal Credit, increasing statutory sick pay, boosting funding for social care, and looking at further ways to plug the gap between primary and secondary care NHS services.

We will continue to offer to work with the government in tackling these vital issues and ensuring we have a mentally healthy nation as we move beyond the pandemic.

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