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BPS signs consensus statement calling for removal of benefit sanctions

26 March 2019

The British Psychological Society has joined eight other leading mental health organisations in calling for the removal of benefit sanctions for people with mental health difficulties.

The call is made in a consensus statement, which is launched today at the 12th New Savoy Annual Conference in London.

It states that the social security system too often treats people without dignity and humanity, contributing to and worsening mental health conditions.

It calls for everyone living with a mental health condition to be supported in gaining financial security, whether through the social security system or appropriate help in returning to or gaining paid work.

However, the statement makes clear that no one with a mental health condition should ever be forced to look for work, or face the threat of having their benefit payments reduced.

Sanctions such as these have not been shown to work, and are not safe for people with mental health difficulties or those dependent on them. As a result, the consensus statement says that they should be stopped.

Disability Rights UK says:

“There is no evidence sanctions work.

“Instead they are harmful to disabled people and counterproductive.

“We want a system that genuinely supports the many disabled people who want to work to keep their job when they become disabled  - and, for those out of work, to get into work, or set up their own business, with the tailored and flexible support they need to do so.

“Instead people are subject to a regime that seems to be finding coercive ways to get people off benefits when their health or other critical factors clearly make this inappropriate.

Disability Rights UK will continue to argue for replacing benefits sanctions with effective support for both disabled people and employers, to make a reality of the Government’s pledge to halve the disability employment gap.“