5-speed listening (Being Sick - Level 6)

UK leader cracks down on 'sick note culture'



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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced plans to crack down on what he has labelled Britain's "sick note culture". The leader believes there are too many people in the UK claiming welfare benefits because of mental health issues. He said welfare payments were a drain on the economy, and the number of people not working was creating labour shortages. The number of sick notes issued by doctors has risen sharply since the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The most common diagnoses being given by doctors are related to mental health and behavioural disorders. Sunak said: "We need to change the sick note culture, so the default becomes what work you can do not what you can't."

Mr Sunak has emphasised the need to get people back into employment. He said: "We need to be more ambitious about helping people back to work, and more honest about the risk of over-medicalising the everyday challenges and worries of life." He added: "Half of people becoming inactive over the last year cited depression and anxiety." Opponents of Sunak's plans say his government caused the current crisis. The mental health charity Mind said: "The truth is that…services are at breaking point following years of underinvestment." The opposition Labour party called Sunak's plans, "another front for their culture wars". It said the government was "tone deaf, shameless and irresponsible".

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