Tag Archive: tories

On a new first class stamp is a picture of Sir Nicholas Winton. After a huge public campaign, the man who rescued hundreds of Jewish child refugees in the Kindertransport has rightly been honoured by the Royal Mail. And rightly too we are all proud of what Britain did to help child refugees with cross party support in Parliament generations ago.

But will today’s Parliamentary vote on child refugees be a similar source of pride for future generations? Or will they look back with shame on the reluctance of the British Government to act?

Some 95,000 children and teenagers in Europe as part of the refugee crisis are alone with no one to look after them. Lord Alf Dubs’ amendment – which had overwhelming cross party support in the House of Lords – asks Britain to take just 3,000 of those children, so we do our bit to help.

Because urgent help is needed. Thousands are sleeping rough because children’s homes are full and child protection services are overwhelmed. They face huge risk from cold, sickness, abuse, exploitation, violence and rape.

According to Unicef and Save the Children there are 2,000 children alone in Northern Greece, but less than 500 places in shelters. In Italy they found girls being exploited by older men, while half the boys already had sexually transmitted diseases. And in Calais I met 11 and 12-year-olds suffering from scabies and bronchitis, sleeping in tents with adult men.

These kids should be safe, cared for and in school. One of the Syrian teenagers I met told me the thing he wanted most was to learn – he hadn’t been in a classroom for four years.

Many of them have family elsewhere in Europe who could look after them. Citizens UK and Help Refugees have found 150 children and teenagers in Calais who have relatives here in Britain. Appalling failures in both the French and British system mean they are stuck in the mud of Northern France instead.

So it is shameful that the British government is still refusing to help child refugees in Europe. Under pressure in January from all our campaigns ministers have agreed to help child refugees in camps in the Middle East (And they re-announced the same thing under pressure again last week.) That help is welcome. But it does nothing to solve the plight of those suffering trafficking and exploitation in Europe right now.

Nor is it good enough to say that these children are all someone else’s problem. Italy and Greece are overwhelmed. A shocking 10,000 child refugees have vanished in Europe – many of them undoubtedly into the arms of trafficking gangs.

Source: Child Refugees – We Must Not Turn Our Backs | Yvette Cooper

People with mental illness are more likely to die early than they were when the Tories came to power, new research reveals.

Figures unveiled by Labour today show that in 2010 those with serious mental health problems were 3.3 times more likely to die before they were 75, compared to the general population.

By 2014, this had risen to 3.5 times.

The stats also reveal the post-code lottery nature of mental health care, with the risk of early death for sufferers in Walsall doubling, while in Camden the figures show a fall.

Luciana Berger, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health, said: “For all this Tory Government talks about ‘parity of esteem’ for mental health, the appalling fact is that a person with mental illness is more likely to die early compared with the general population than they were when the Tories came to power.

“Tory Ministers claim to have given mental health equal priority to physical health, but the reality for patients on the grounds tells a very different story. Vital services have been cut or reduced at a time of rising demand.

“Too many people with mental health problems are becoming more seriously ill as they face long waits for help, more people have had to travel hundreds of miles just to get a bed, or have been left to struggle without any support at all. Suicides have risen steadily and are now the biggest killer of men under 49.

“Ministers must urgently explain what they are going to do to turn their empty rhetoric into real and urgent action.”

Source: Early Death Rate Of Mentally Ill People Has Risen Under The Tories

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