The UK Government’s Welfare Reform Bill that presents the UK Government’s plans for getting a million people on benefits back to work is published this week. John Hutton, Work and Pensions Secretary, has promised that the new system will have a fairer test for mental health, and will offer more therapy to those who have left work due to depression or stress.
Around 40% of people claiming incapacity benefits do so due to mental illness. When the Government announced its new plans to end incapacity benefits and introduce employment and support allowance, concerns were raised that new assessments to judge a person’s ability to work would not be fair on people with a mental illness.
Mr Hutton has now instructed a taskforce to develop a test that is better at assessing a person’s mental health, and has promised that more resources will be put into providing treatment and therapy for those with depression or stress.
Mr Hutton said: “Mental health problems caused by stress at work may be as big a problem in this century as industrial injuries were in the last.
“That is why it is vital that we can focus resources on identifying mental health problems that impact on people’s ability to work and finding better ways to help people overcome them.”