On mental health, EU citizens’ rights and counter-extremism, there is an opportunity for student campaigners to make a real difference
The Queen’s speech was a dream come true for no one – except perhaps foxes, who will be relieved that there was no further mention of hunting. But for students, it was a mixed bag.
The speech was light on detail and heavy on Brexit. For the 84% of voting students who were opposed to leaving the EU, the future it outlined is exactly what we didn’t want. But there were silver linings: the announcement of plans to abolish letting agent fees and to bring forward legislation protecting victims of domestic violence, for instance. There are also plans to tackle the gender pay gap.
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Some voices in the party say I want a hard Brexit. I don’t – what I want is an end to the gross inequality that has made me angrier than ever
Liberal Democrats are faced with electing a new leader after Tim Farron’s resignation last week. I have come to the conclusion that I will not be putting myself forward as a candidate for that vacancy. That might seem strange given the support and encouragement I have received from party members – indeed, from many people outside the Lib Dems.
Related: Tim Farron quits as Lib Dem leader
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Party’s manifesto plans will change in wake of election, with possible shifts in stance on Brexit, grammar schools and social care
The first Queen’s speech of the new parliament will be nothing like as ambitious as Theresa May had hoped, given the Conservative party’s lack of an overall majority and the need to rely on the Democratic Unionist party of Northern Ireland to pass legislation. Only a handful of key policies are likely to survive:
Related: Tom Watson asks May: did Murdoch request Gove’s return to cabinet?
Related: Q&A: how will the UK election result affect Brexit talks?
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Pip McManus died three years after becoming ill with an eating disorder. Her parents explain how medical care failed their daughter
Marie McManus wants to show me the final photograph taken of her daughter Pip. It was 9 December 2015, and the 15-year-old is standing on the platform of a railway station five minutes’ walk from the family home. In the CCTV image, Pip is wearing a red hoodie and looking up the track to see if her train is coming. But she’s not going to get on it.
Related: Mother of anorexic girl killed by train criticises care failings after inquest
I thought, they’ll put a drip in, they’ll give her fluids. They’ll make her better
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The Tories betray wilful ignorance in refusing to acknowledge that some adults need support all their lives – asking them to pay care costs is wrong
Much has been said about the Conservative manifesto pledges on social care and Theresa May’s subsequent U-turn, but one issue that has so far escaped scrutiny is the Tories’ strange assumption that social care is all about older people. This is despite the fact that around a third of those who need social care services are of working age [pdf].
Social care affects all adults who need support because of a disability or long-term health condition. This might include a learning disability, a physical disability or severe and enduring mental ill-health. The failure of the Conservative manifesto to acknowledge any of this gives the impression of a party that is wilfully ignorant of the nature of adult social care and its beneficiaries.
Related: The ‘dementia tax’ mess shows how little May thinks of disabled people | Frances Ryan
Related: Forget money – we need to rethink what social care should look like
Guardian experts give their view on the main parties’ public service manifesto pledges. Here, our health editor looks at what’s in store for the NHS
• David Brindle on social care
• Patrick Butler on social security
• Dawn Foster on housing
• Frances Ryan on disability
• Anna Bawden on local government
• Alan Travis on home affairs
• Jane Dudman on the civil service
• Damian Carrington on the environment
• Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
The NHS in England would receive “the resources it needs – a minimum of £8bn in real terms over the next five years, delivering an increase in real funding per head of the population for every year of the parliament”. A further £10bn is pledged in capital spending. It would ensure that the NHS and social care system had all the health professionals “it needs” and it would train more homegrown medics. Backing the NHS’s Five Year Forward View and local sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) would lead to the controversial rundown of A&E and maternity units and changes to the roles of many hospitals. Any “necessary legislative changes” would be made to finally give STPs legal status. In addition, it would “review the operation of the internal market and make non-legislative changes to remove barriers to the integration of care”. GPs would provide seven-day access everywhere by 2019.
PM confronted by nurse over issue of low pay in Question Time special, while Jeremy Corbyn is questioned over Trident and national security
Theresa May came under sustained pressure over the Conservative party’s record on public sector pay, mental health services and social care in a combative election edition of BBC1’s Question Time broadcast less than a week before polling day.
The prime minister faced a string of awkward questions from members of the public, including a challenge from a nurse, Victoria Davey, who left May faltering after confronting her over the 1% pay increase received by NHS staff.
Related: Question Time leaders’ special: May under fire over NHS and education – live
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Related: Question Time leaders’ special: panel verdict
Older people deserve respect and relief from the pressures and fears of declining physical and mental powers, say our readers
I have great respect for Simon Jenkins – he often cuts through the codswallop that often poses as journalism today. Unfortunately, he falls into the trap of Conservative thinking on social care (We all want to live longer, but someone must pay, 1 June). It does seem reasonable that those who have built up assets in their lifetimes should fund their own social care in old age, but this misses the whole point of a progressive system of taxation. Illness, frailty, misfortune can happen to anyone, rich or poor. It’s true the better off tend to live longer, with better health, but that does not mean that individuals cannot be struck down with early-onset dementia, or another devastating condition. Why should those families suffer more than other families whose progenitors were fortunate enough to enjoy perfect health? Progressive taxation, either on wealth or on income, spreads the risk and ensures that the rich and not-quite-so-rich pay their fair share towards the collective health of the nation. An inheritance tax too, properly graduated, should be part of the taxation mix, funding excellent state care for wealthy and poor alike, whatever their individual circumstances.
• Simon Jenkins is right, someone has to pay. But the need for care is a lottery and it falls unfairly on the 10% of those families whose relatives develop dementia, sometimes before they are even considered old. My relative developed Lewy body dementia at the age of 58. If he’d had cancer, he would have been cared for, but his family had to contribute to his nursing home care – after 12 years of his wife providing 24-hour care for free, with a devastating effect on her own life and freedom. Jenkins’s reference to past family situations belies the fact that women were the carers and they are now expected to work outside the home. The amount needed to provide care nationally is not so great in a rich country that we can’t all contribute to care for the sick and vulnerable, whatever their family wealth, just as we do for sick children.
Clare Slaney, Richard House and 73 others involved in the mental health field say that voters face an unusually grave choice on 8 June
British society is in crisis. Suicide is now the leading cause of death in men under 45. The Royal Society of Medicine tells us that “relentless cuts” have led to an extra 30,000 deaths. A report to the UN from the Equality and Human Rights Commission noted that work capability assessments “have been linked to suicides and cases of deteriorating mental health”. Benefit sanctions have caused hunger, hypothermia, homelessness and deaths. It is scarcely believable that food banks have become a societal norm. Workplace stress is at epidemic proportions, with working conditions increasingly amounting to servitude. People work for pitiful wages and uncertain numbers of hours, while the highly paid are expected to work a 70-plus hour week. Increasingly, people have to fit sleep around their working life. Employment and wealth have become the primary arbiters of a person’s value and character.
In our view, voters need to revisit fundamental values. Are human beings nothing more than economic units? Are some people valued more than others? Are vulnerable people deserving of public expenditure, or are they disposable? Do neighbours and communities matter – or are we merely people in housing units? Poverty creates chronic mental and physical illnesses that cost a great deal across the life cycle. UK productivity is the lowest in the G7, in part because of stress, because increasing numbers of people hate their jobs, but also because employers refuse to meaningfully invest in their workforce. Treating people as objects has destructive economic effects at every level.
Lying on the floor for hours awaiting help, unable to afford both incontinence pants and food … This is the reality of disability cuts for Stephen, Alex and Elli
When Theresa May was challenged by a disabled voter over cuts to her disability benefits and social care last month, it shone a light on the way Conservative policies post-2010 have disproportionately targeted disabled people. Recent years have seen the introduction of many cuts and changes – from the rollout of “fit to work” tests to the abolition of disability living allowance – as well as a lack of action on existing inequalities, such as inaccessible housing. It all amounts to an unprecedented assault on disabled people’s rights and living standards in Britain.
In a series of interviews over several months, the Guardian has followed three disabled readers – Stephen, Alex, and Elli – as they experience the reality of life since austerity.
To afford a wheelchair, Alex had to sell the TV, phone, plates, mugs, second-hand laptop and clothes
Related: In confronting Theresa May, Kathy has spoken up for all Britain’s disabled people | Frances Ryan
The prime minister claims nothing has changed after giving a speech that rowed back on the Conservative manifesto plan for social care, introducing the idea of a cap on costs
How can we improve the lives of learning disabled people when even the prime minister muddles them up with those with mental health problems?
My daughter has learning difficulties. She was born with them 24 years ago and they will always be part of her life. Since they are at the most profound end of the spectrum and complicated by epilepsy she is unable to walk, talk or see. She needs full-time care and state support. But most importantly she is an adorable human being and a lively individual.
Since her birth I have endured mild bouts of depression along with deriving much joy, like many parents who finds their lives suddenly disrupted by birth of a child with disabilities. The temporary slumps have not been too destabilising. Other people suffer far more severe mental health problems. Thankfully, society is starting to show more appreciation of their conditions with growing support from all political parties.
Related: Looking for work with a learning disability: ‘You feel like a failure’
In the run-up to the general election, six Guardian reporters are writing from constituencies across the country to find out what matters to you and in your area. In the second of a series of dispatches from Erdington, Birmingham, Nazia Parveen and photographer Christopher Thomond meet church leaders helping those in need – and struggling with the question of who is responsible
In 2010, when David Cameron launched his “big society” project in Liverpool, he talked a lot about empowering communities. The idea, he said, was “a deep, serious reform agenda to take power away from politicians and give it to people”. But then austerity took the big society’s place as the government’s defining idea, and the phrase disappeared from the party’s literature. It was dismissed as an “enormous failure”.
Seven years on from that launch, on a sunny afternoon 100 miles south of Liverpool, Cameron’s big idea is reluctantly being reheated in a Labour heartland. Today’s “empowered community”, as Cameron would have it, are the leaders and volunteers of the many churches and mosques in Erdington, a Birmingham suburb. They might wish they didn’t have to, but they are helping to meet the needs of some of the most impoverished people in society.
With Princes William and Harry speaking up about the death of their mother, mental health awareness has had a much needed boost. But it’s what happens next that really counts
My toddler has recently learned to talk, and she speaks as if she’s recording her podcast, an unedited till roll of thoughts with a small pause for congratulations at the end. Occasionally she will prod me for praise. “That was a lovely story I just told wasn’t it?” Yes baby. “I piggy pardon?” Yes, that was a lovely story.
It very often is a lovely story, but a time will have to come, maybe when she turns three, when she will learn that talking is not enough. Talking is rarely the end – talking is the vehicle, the bus, the bike. The meandering journey to another place.
May has pledged to tackle the ‘stigma’ of mental health. But the crisis has been fuelled by her party’s cuts
Depression and anxiety haunt the people who use our food bank. We need a safety net to support people in poverty, not penalise them
Two-thirds of British adults have experienced mental health problems at some point in their lives, according to the Mental Health Foundation. For people forced to use a food bank like ours, the figures are even higher.
It’s no wonder. The NHS says depression can be caused by “an upsetting or stressful life event, such as bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy and job or money worries”. People who use food banks face many of these – often at the same time.
Related: How to set up a food bank in your local community
Policies that create appalling situations that damage people’s health make me more angry than I can say
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