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Triple tax on social media giants to boost mental health in schools 

scrolling a social media page with a coffee on the table

Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to treble the tax on social media giants to provide a dedicated mental health professional in every school.

The proposal will be debated by Liberal Democrat members today (24 September) at the party’s Autumn Conference in Bournemouth. It forms part of an package of measures for schools and colleges being voted on by members, including extending free school meals to all children in poverty.

Under the party’s plans, the Government would fund a dedicated, qualified mental health professional in each of England’s 22,000 state-funded schools. The money would be raised by trebling the Digital Services Tax, paid by social media companies and search engines, from 2% of a company’s revenues to 6%.

It comes in response to the mental health crisis among children and young people that has been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. According to NHS data, more than one in six children aged 7-16 had a probable mental disorder in 2022, compared to more than one in nine in 2017.

Surveys show that most parents are worried about their children’s mental health. Many cite the impacts of social media – including the pressure to constantly engage, cyber-bullying, abuse and other harmful content – as a major cause of concern.

Munira Wilson MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education, Children and Young People, said:

“Young people are facing a mental health emergency, and we need to act now to tackle it.

“Both the pandemic and the rise of social media have done enormous damage to children’s mental health. Conservative Ministers have completely failed to grasp the scale of this crisis. They have neglected young people and let them down again and again.

“Liberal Democrats are calling for a dedicated, qualified mental health professional in every school, so every child and every parent has someone they can turn to for help.”

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