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The Scottish Government has recently announced that it will embark on a programme of non-compliance with Westminster's hated sanction regime once it takes on responsibility for work programmes next year. This is something the NI Executive already has the power to do. All that is needed is the political will. This blog critiques the Executive's Steps 2 Success work programme, including the use of punitive sanctions against programme participants, the lack of sustainable employment outcomes being achieved through the programme and the inaction by government in the face of these failures. It proposes that instead of arbitrarily punishing people for perceived non compliance with the programme by withdrawing their benefits, the government should adopt a set of proposals developed by the Right to Work: Right to Welfare Group ( R2W) that would ensure people are fully protected through due process and impact assessment in all aspect of the social security system.
Mental health rights campaigners will take to the steps of Parliament Buildings on Thursday 15 September at 12.30pm, along with MLAs and mental health charities, to call on the Minister of Health Michelle O’Neill MLA to increase funding for mental health services, as part of their #MoreDoughNeeded campaign.
The Mental Health Rights Campaign group has sent an Open Letter to the Health Minister calling for funding of mental health services in line with need. While mental health accounts for approximately 25% of health cases it currently receives only 8.5% of the health budget.