9 June 2023 – today’s press release

  • HMICFRS report shows need for return to community policing
  • Softened windfall tax shows Government doesn’t care
  • Government’s mental health plans leave children in 3 in 4 primary schools without NHS support
  • Johnson Honours: Sunak’s so called integrity has been broken
  • Boris Johnson: “Good riddance”

HMICFRS report shows need for return to community policing

Responding to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) State of Policing report, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP:

Sadly, this report confirms what we already knew. The Conservatives have trashed our justice system, from decimating frontline policing to ignoring the courts backlog.

Too many people feel like justice is out of reach when they’re a victim of a crime. Public trust in our very institutions is at stake. The Home Secretary must commit to a return to community policing without delay.

Softened windfall tax shows Government doesn’t care

Responding to the news that Jeremy Hunt will soften the energy windfall, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

The families and businesses still suffering so much from high energy bills will not forget the failure of the Conservatives to tax the windfall profits of the oil and gas companies properly.

This out of touch Government has shown yet again that it doesn’t care about people struggling just to get by, or the small business clinging on.

This energy tax failure ranks as one of Rishi Sunak’s biggest personal failures as Chancellor and Prime Minister.

Government’s mental health plans leave children in 3 in 4 primary schools without NHS support

Pupils at almost three in four primary schools (73.4%) will not be able to access NHS mental health support at school by the end of next year, Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The figures also show that Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) will only be in place in around half (53.5%) of secondary schools by the end of 2024. Funding to roll out the teams ends next year.

Ministers have refused to confirm if MHSTs will be rolled out to every school beyond 2024. Health Minister Maria Caulfield said that “financial plans… will be confirmed in due course”, whilst the Education Secretary could commit only to “putting the case forward for continuing the roll-out”.

Health chiefs have said that, without any further funding, they could use the existing NHS budget to fund the teams for an extra year. However, they could not guarantee how the teams will fare in the next Spending Review.

Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Munira Wilson MP has slammed the Government for the slow pace of the rollout and is calling on Ministers to fund a qualified mental health practitioner in every school.

MHSTs were announced by the Government in 2017 to deliver cognitive behavioural therapy and other low-level support to young people in schools and colleges. Yet according to official estimates, each team, typically consisting of around eight staff, will need to support 16.7 schools and colleges on average, that teach 8,500 pupils between them.

The Liberal Democrats sent Freedom of Information requests to each NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB) in England, revealing a huge postcode lottery in the rollout of MHSTs across the country:

  • In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, MHSTs only cover primary schools, with a remit to prioritise pupils “in reception year and [in] the transition into year 7.” Even then, only 47% of primary schools in the area are covered.
  • By contrast, the Surrey Heartlands ICB – which covers most of the county – operates MHSTs in four out of 10 secondary schools but less than one in 10 primaries. Four more MHSTs will become operational by the end of next year.
  • Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and West Berkshire ICB has the slowest rollout, with their existing or planned teams covering just one in five secondary schools and one in 10 primaries. In Oxfordshire, each team supports 16,000 pupils – almost double the national average – spread across between 35 and 77 schools.

Among the ICBs that provided comparable data, MHSTs in the North East and North Cumbria spend the least money per pupil (£24), whilst spending in Surrey is more than triple that amount.

The shocking statistics add to concerns about the rapidly increasing crisis in children’s mental health:

  • According to NHS Digital, the number of children aged 7-16 with a probable mental health disorder has risen from 12.1% in 2017 to 18% in 2022;
  • Data obtained by the Children’s Commissioner shows that the average waiting time to access children and young people’s mental health services rose to 40 days in 2021-22;
  • Research carried out by The House magazine showed that a quarter of a million children were denied NHS mental health treatment or redirected elsewhere due to burgeoning caseloads.

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said:

The Government is letting down our children and young people. Our children’s mental health services were in crisis before the pandemic, but Conservative Ministers have failed completely to grasp the scale of the tidal wave in mental ill health that has emerged since.

Under the Tories, a school that sees an NHS mental health professional for a day a week is one of the lucky ones. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of children are left waiting to see if mental health support will be rolled out at their school or sacrificed to pay for the Government’s economic incompetence. Yet failing to roll out the programme will simply make waiting times for acute CAMHS even worse.

Liberal Democrats would invest in our children by putting a qualified mental health professional in every school so that more young people come to school happy, healthy and ready to learn.

Johnson Honours: Sunak’s so called integrity has been broken

Responding to Boris Johnson’s Honours list, Lord Newby, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords:

This is a clear failure of leadership from Rishi Sunak. His promise to govern with integrity has been utterly broken.

Boris Johnson caused crisis after crisis in this country. His lack of honour means he didn’t deserve an honours list in the first place.

Yet Sunak has caved in, rewarding Johnson for his reckless behaviour as Prime Minister. The British public will be outraged at this out of touch decision.

Rishi Sunak needs to come before Parliament immediately to justify his cowardly failure to block Boris Johnson’s Honours list.

Boris Johnson: “Good riddance”

Responding to Boris Johnson standing down as an MP, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

Good riddance.

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One Comment

  • Helen Dudden 11th Jun '23 - 10:46am

    We have MPs playing at politics. Self serving.
    Unless this is sorted at Westminster politicians are able to cause mayhem.
    Autism seems to be a problem for Local Authorities. My little grandchild has a speech restriction. I still with other members of the family speak to her. It’s improved a little.
    It seems she has another issue, that’s been inherited. A health issue. It is difficult for a child where language is restricted to explain.
    I know that one specialist stated, parents find it so difficult coping.
    I’m using a Power Wheelchair, do you class me as being not able to speak up on topics?
    Not having the chance of an Accessible Home, like many other’s we don’t measure up to what’s expected.
    I grow tired of the excuses, children need care to grow and develop. Parents need support and help.
    Stop making excuses. Work with others in the world to stop this narrow minded treatment of gangs and child abuse.

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