BPS responds to new government 'Back to Work Plan'
The BPS has responded to the new ‘Back to Work Plan’ published by the government, raising concerns about the impact of the threat of benefits sanctions on claimants’ mental health.
17 November 2023
The plan sets out steps to expand Individual Placement and Support (IPS) where employment specialists work with people accessing the service to help them find suitable employment and integrate them with community mental health services so they are supported on their return to work.
Also in the plans is a commitment to invest further in NHS Talking Therapies to support claimants struggling with their mental health.
While these steps are welcome, the BPS is seriously concerned about other elements put forward which increase the threat of benefits sanctions.
Dr Roman Raczka, President-Elect of the BPS, said:
“While there are some positive elements of the new ‘Back to Work Plan' from the government, the increased threat of benefit sanctions is hugely damaging and a big step backwards.
“We know that the threat of benefit sanctions is detrimental to claimants who are struggling with their mental health. Mandatory activities, combined with the threat of sanctions create a toxic environment of fear and put simply, they do not work.
“Poverty and mental health is a vicious cycle and the answer to tackling the growing number of people struggling with their mental health is not threat or fear, but rather to treat people with compassion and provide access to appropriate professional support.”