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28 October 2021

With You responds to the 2021 Budget and Spending Review

Yesterday the Chancellor announced the result of the 2021 Spending Review alongside the Autumn Budget Statement. The Budget and Spending Review sets out the government’s fiscal priorities, with far reaching implications for our mental health, drug and alcohol treatment as well as young persons services.

Commenting on the Autumn Budget and Spending Review, Jon Murray, Executive Director at With You, said:

‘Yesterday's announcement could have been a landmark moment for people who need substance misuse and mental health treatment in this country but despite the government committing to larger spendings than expected, this group seems to, once again, have been left behind. If we are serious about ‘levelling up’ and lowering unacceptably destructive levels of drug-related harm across the UK, we need to aim higher and go further.

The public health grant has been systemically underfunded for years and we already know these reductions have been greatest and had the worst effect in some of the most deprived areas of the country. It's absolutely clear that freeing up resources to fight this crisis is the right thing to do both morally and fiscally, with projections telling us that each £1 spent on harm reduction and treatment yields a fourfold return, while failure to invest will have adverse effects on health and security.

Despite committing to implementing the findings and recommendations of Dame Carol Black’s Independent Review and a larger than expected budget, the comprehensive financial package recommended by Carol Black will not be met. While we welcome continued funding relating to some substance misuse treatment and homelessness, we strongly urge the government to go a step further in its commitment to substance use treatment and match the ambition set out in the Dame Carol Black Review.’


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