“I want us to employ the power of government as a force for good to transform the way we deal with mental health problems right across society, and at every stage of life.”
Fine words from the Prime Minister in her Charity Commission lecture in January.
It’s an issue I care about – I ran a small mental health charity for several years. But as so often with the PM the words don’t match the reality.
As a letter in the London Review of Books from Chris Purnell, who works in mental health in Kent, explains from March 16th it became harder for mentally ill people to qualify for Personal Independence Payments. A key qualifying rule now reads ‘For reasons other than psychological distress, cannot plan the route of a journey.” The effect of this exclusion and similar amendment says Purnell, “is that people suffering mental illness will no longer qualify for PIP.”
Could it be that what Mrs May used to term the nasty party is alive and well?
There’s more nastiness to come. She may have sacked George Osborne but the Prime Minister is pushing ahead with the ex-Chancellor’s plans to curb welfare payments, which according to research reported by the Guardian “will push a quarter of a million children into poverty while wiping thousands of pounds off payments for bereaved families.” The think tank Policy in Practice found that “more than 600,000 families – championed as the “just about managing” households, which the prime minister vowed to protect on her first day in government – would be hit by the child welfare cuts, while many more could be affected by other cuts.”
For a Labour supporter there is so much to be angry about with this government.
Health The head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, has been told he’ll be getting no extra cash so last week was forced to announce he was shelving the target that 92% of patients would be treated within 18 weeks for non-urgent surgery. That decision says Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth breaks the NHS constitution and puts the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt “in breach of his legal duty
Education Schools face the first cuts in per pupil funding since the mid 90s according to an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies reported in the Independent. “The respected think-tank calculated that real-terms terms spending on school pupils would drop by 6.5 per cent over the course of this parliament”.
Jeremy Corbyn did well at Prime Minister’s questions in challenging the Prime Minister on what undoubtedly amounts to a broken Tory election promise.
But this is where doubts surface about where I should direct my anger. However much he improves his performance the hard fact is that Jeremy is electoral poison for the Labour party. PB is awash with evidence of how Corbyn’s low ratings has dragged the party down with him.
Speak to a Corbyn supporter and you will be told about Jeremy’s fine values; about how much he cares about the NHS, education and looking after the poor and disadvantaged.
My answer is usually pretty brutal. If he really cared he would move on and make way for someone who would give us a shot at winning power. That’s the only way we can undo the nasty things the Tories are doing.