Steve Beasant

Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Great Grimsby and Councillor for the East Marsh Learn more

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MP backs housing benefit campaign for people with mental illnesses

by Steve Beasant on 26 August, 2016

key_Greg_MulhollandLiberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West Greg Mulholland has backed the ‘A Place To Call Home‘ campaign, launched by the Rethink Mental Illness charity. The campaign urges ministers not to cap housing benefit for people living in supported housing.

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with a severe mental illness live in supported housing. The Government is yet to announce the findings of its Supported Housing Review. But as it stands, a cap to Housing Benefit will apply from 1 April 2018.

Greg, in his previous role as the Liberal Democrats’ work and pensions spokesperson, campaigned successfully to exempt foster carers and members of the Armed Forces from having housing benefit capped. He is now calling for those with severe mental illnesses and have to live in supported housing to also be exempt.

The withdrawal of financial support for those mentally ill, when people are not well enough to work, means that vital supported housing services will become unaffordable.

Without appropriate support, people affected by severe mental illness will struggle to live independently and achieve a full recovery. This will also mean additional costs and challenges for the NHS.

Greg is writing to the Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud, to make sure he is aware of the damage that could be done if a sustainable solution is not found for people affected by severe mental illness.

Commenting, Greg said:

“I welcome the campaign launched by Rethink Mental Illness, and would strongly urge ministers not to cap housing benefit for those who are mentally ill and have to live in supported housing. Services that these vulnerable people rely on would then become unaffordable.

“I have previously campaigned successfully to have foster carers and members of the Armed Forces exempt from a housing benefit cap. People with severe mental illnesses should also be exempt from the cap. I am writing to the welfare reform minister expressing my concerns and urging him to find a solution.”

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