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Budget 2018: Mental health ambulances promised in drive for more dedicated treatment

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The vehicles look like normal cars but are designed to reduce stigma - and there will be 24-hour mental health care in all A&Es.

Mental health services will get a cash injection of £2bn a year, as Philip Hammond promises more dedicated support in Monday's budget.

Special ambulances to treat people with conditions like depression, anxiety and PTSD are part of the new measures to ensure mental illnesses are treated as seriously as physical ones.

The vehicles look like normal cars and are designed to reduce stigma

Specialist mental health support will also be available 24/7 in every A&E department in the country, Mr Hammond will promise.

And schools will get dedicated crisis teams supporting pupils with mild to moderate mental health illnesses.

Some 55,000 adults with severe mental illnesses will be helped by the NHS to find jobs through a work placement scheme.

The money for mental health services comes after Prime Minister Theresa May pledged an extra £20bn a year for the NHS.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News the overall figure was guaranteed "whatever the Brexit outcome".

The money for mental health is due to be announced by Mr Hammond in his biggest speech of the year, announcing tax and spending changes for the next 12 months.

He will be under pressure to back up Mrs May's recent pledge that the end of austerity is in sight

When asked about this promise, Mr Hancock said "it's coming to an end" and "years of difficult decisions are paying off".

Other announcements expected include a further £60m for tree planting in England to "preserve the country's greenery".

Around £10m of that will go to growing new street and urban trees, with councils told to match the figure.

A further £50m will be used to buy carbon credits from landowners. These are permits that allow them to produce a certain amount of carbon emissions.

It is hoped they will produce 10 million new trees over the next 30 years.

But Labour warned that "relentless" cuts to local government have "decimated" parks and green spaces.

Shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman said the "one-off pots of funding" did "nothing to reverse or stop the serious decline of parks and open spaces on this government's watch".

Other measures expected to be announced on Monday include cutting business rates for small shops, overhauling marriage laws and fixing pot holes and other road damage.

The chancellor conceded to Sky News that the pledge to end austerity could be threatened by a "no-deal" Brexit.

He told Sophy Ridge on Sunday an emergency budget would have to be drawn up that took a "different approach to the future of Britain's economy".
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