Gosport mum says chancellor's budget fails to help struggling parents
A MUM who gave up her career as a teacher to tend to her prematurely-born son during lockdown has said the chancellor’s Budget has not gone far enough to help struggling parents.
Kirsty Smillie, of Gospot, warned Rishi Sunak’s multi-billion pound spending plan had ‘ignored’ families left in crisis during the pandemic – particularly young mothers with postnatal depression.
The 38-year-old, who suffered from the illness and now is a group leader at Hampshire Pandas supporting other parents with postnatal depression, said: ‘Through the whole pandemic mental health, well-being and the role mothers play has been completed ignored by the government – and it has once again been ignored in the budget.
‘The consequences of the pandemic have led to people becoming so isolated. More people have been placed on anti-depressants; postnatal depression rates have tripled.
‘People aren’t able to access the correct therapies. There are huge delays in treatment. This should have been addressed but I can’t see anything in the chancellor’s Budget that does this.’
Kirsty gave up her job as a teacher after her son Brody was born seven weeks premature in January 2020.
She spent a month at Queen Alexandra Hospital’s neonatal ward with her son before going into isolation at home.
During that time, her mental health declined and she was diagnosed with postnatal depression.
‘It’s been a really, really hard time. It’s been lonely, isolation, financially draining and extremely worrying,’ she said.
‘I wanted to know what the government are going to do to address that because we want to go out to work and building up the economy.
‘But we need support to do that. I can’t see that in the budget.’
As part of efforts to help families, Mr Sunak vowed to increase the minimum wage to £8.91 an hour from April.
A £20 weekly uplift in Universal Credit, worth £1,000 a year, would also be extended for a further six months.
Meanwhile working tax credit claimants will get a £500 one-off payment.
The chancellor also pledged there would be no change to rates of income tax, national insurance or VAT, with tax-free personal allowances to be frozen at £12,570 from April 2021 levels until 2026.