DELIBERATELY INCREASING POVERTY IS A FALSE ECONOMY

15 June 2013

UNDERNEATH THE MACRO ECONOMIC AUSTERITY PLANS OF THE TREASURY THERE IS POWERFUL EVIDENCE THAT POVERTY LINKED DEBT AND MISERY ARE  COSTING THE TAXPAYER BILLIONS

During the passage of the Welfare Reform Bill I organised a seminar to which Lord Ramsbotham invited Lord Freud. He was made aware of the link between debt and mental illness by representatives of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The DWP then proceeded to ignore that substantial evidence that caps, cuts and council tax inevitably create rent and council tax arrears, utility debts, hardship and misery because social security and the lowest incomes have been reduced by the government to levels lower than rents and the minimum quantities and prices of necessities in the market.

JRF and the TUC have estimated the cost to the taxpayers of poverty in the family, health and education, and in the economy at large in reduced GDP.

http://www.jrf.org.uk/media-centre/child-poverty-costing-uk-billions
http://povertynewsblog.blogspot.co.uk/2007/10/tuc-poverty-inaction-costs-40bn.html

I prefer to say that there would be an estimated £40 billion a year saving to the taxpayer if poverty was ended in the UK; substantial reductions would help, but poverty is now being increased. The hardship and misery we see are good enough reasons on their own to reverse that trend by increasing incomes to prevent debt and the consequent mental health problems.

The cost of mental illness to the NHS/social services, employers and patients is a total £105 billion a year to the economy at large.

http://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/news/2010_cost_of_mental_ill_health.aspx

Debt is linked to mental health problems, break down and suicide see Royal College of Psychiatrists

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/expertadvice/problemsdisorders/debtandmentalhealth.aspx
http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/quality/research/debtandmentalhealth/evidenceandresearch.aspx

And the Government Office for Science.

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/BISCore/corporate/MigratedD/ec_group/116-08-FO_b.pdf

Who write. "There is a strong case for Government to work with financial organisations and utility companies to break the cycle between debt and mental illness. Recent research has indicated that debt is a much stronger risk factor for mental disorder than low income. A range of possible interventions are suggested: beginning with better training for teenagers in managing finance; greater awareness of the link between mental health and debt by banks and financial institutions; and measures by utility companies to handle arrears better".

The same applies to Jobcentres enforcing overpayments and sanctions, Local Authorities council tax and rents, and magistrates courts enforcing poverty linked fines for TV license and fare evasion. But central government is creating poverty, unmanageable debt and stress; that impedes all the attempts to prevent mental health problems.

pn 15/6/13


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