Ministers have been unable to provide answers to key questions
There are large gaps in the Government’s understanding of the effect its cuts are having on people with mental health problems, a worrying new investigation has shown.
Ministers have admitted they do not have a full record of which specialist mental health services have closed under their watch – and that they are unsure of the effect of key social security cuts on people with mental health problems.
The holes in the Government’s knowledge came to light after an investigation by Labour’s shadow mental health minister Luciana Berger, who submitted a series of parliamentary questions on the topic.
She was stunned when ministers were unable to provide basic data about the effects on their policies.
The Government was unable to say how many people with mental health problems had lost out from the closure of the Independent Living Fund last year, which helped disabled and sick people to live more independent lives.
DWP minister Justin Tomlinson said the information requested was “not held by the Department for Work and Pensions and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost”.
Ministers at relevant government departments were also unable to say how many specialist inpatient services for older adult mental health patients had closed since David Cameron came to power, and how many consultant psychiatrist posts were vacant in the NHS.