What happened to those burning injustices?

When she took office, Theresa May spoke on the steps of Downing Street about the just about managing.

She said, “We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you. When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty but to you. When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you”.

In our own Borough – Richmond upon Thames, 6,000 children are living in poverty. Last year 14 desperate families went to Citizens Advice to seek a reduction in their Council tax bill from the minimum 15% charge imposed by the Conservatives. Not a single one of those families were subsequently provided with any relief from their Council tax. The Conservatives ended the school uniform grant back in 2010 which helped vulnerable families pay towards their school uniform. The excuse was that PTAs had money and parents could go into school cupboards to find second-hand uniforms! Had the Council been listening to Mrs May’s words perhaps this grant being restored might have helped show they really do care about the most vulnerable.

One of the families quoted by Citizens advice asking for help was a woman who had spent years caring for her late husband and had three young children. So much for “not prioritising the wealthy but you”.

When it comes to mental health, children are still in some cases being sent out of the Borough for treatment for acute conditions as there are not enough beds available. Richmond CAHMS is trying its best but there is a 4 to 6-month waiting time even for cognitive behavioural therapy for children – a vital support for those in need. So much for “doing everything we can to give you more control over your lives”.

The combination of a Brexit-obsessed Conservative government which is dedicating billions of pounds to more customs officers and new IT systems, and the local Conservative Council is a long way off delivering what Theresa May promised. The local elections in May give residents a time to vote for change. I strongly hope they will use that opportunity.

* Chris Key is dad of two girls, multilingual and internationalist. Lib Dem member in Twickenham who likes holding local council and MPs to account.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Chris there is now quite a lot of interest in children’s waiting times for mental health support – the 4-6 month waits you mention are unacceptable. There are also long waits for children who need help with physical conditions. A young member of my family needs occupational therapy. They waited 9 months for one appointment, 4 months for the next and were then issued with instructions on how (their totally unqualified parents) could provide the occupational therapy themselves!

  • Ruth that is completely unacceptable and I am sorry to hear that. Sadly, despite the rhetoric, over 50% of trusts in England reduced their mental health budgets in 2016 compared to the previous year. Any increased in mental health funding are NOT, ring-fenced so trusts take that extra money and put it into other areas which are higher profile like A&E or cancer.

  • We don’t hear much about the price of Brexit. Part of it is the preoccupation with the process and outcome that diverts attention and resources from other pressing matters. Part is the reduced income for the nation during and probably long after it is completed if it is. Part is the uncertainty that troubles the markets, businesses and services. Do the leavers really want to pay this price?

  • Helen Dudden 25th Feb '18 - 7:46am

    I know in the Bath area there are long waits for hydrotherapy. Writing recently on the situation, someone added as a comment, have a bath. It’s not warm enough and you are not able to exercise, that’s the whole point. Water provides support, breaks through the pain barrier. Just one more of the unseen failings.
    On a further point, the Bath
    Thermae Spa, has lifts that have been out of action for several weeks. I
    Disabling those with disabilities.

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