UK Politics

Theresa May vows to correct 'burning injustices'

Theresa May Image copyright PA
Image caption Theresa May said there was "more to life" than individualism

Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to introduce wide-ranging social reforms to correct what she calls the "burning injustices" in modern society.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, she said the UK had voted for Brexit to change the way the country works.

Mrs May proposed a "shared society" where the government has a duty to intervene, including in markets not giving consumers the best deal.

Her comments come ahead of a speech on social reform on Monday.

'Privileged few'

In her address to the Charity Commission in London, Mrs May will unveil plans to tackle stigma around mental health conditions.

"Work is being done, money is going in to the NHS," she told Sky News.

But she added: "It's wrong to assume the only issue is about funding. The issue of mental health is more about the stigma."

On becoming prime minister last summer, Mrs May pledged to lead a "one-nation" government, working for all and not the "privileged few".

In the Sunday Telegraph, Mrs May wrote that a "shared society" meant "a society that doesn't just value our individual rights but focuses rather more on the responsibilities we have to one another."

'Injustice and unfairness'

She said there was "more to life" than individualism and self-interest.

"The social and cultural unions represented by families, communities, towns, cities, counties and nations are the things that define us and make us strong," she wrote.

Government's role is to "encourage and nurture these relationships and institutions where it can, and to correct the injustice and unfairness that divides us wherever it is found."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Lib Dem leader Tim Farron accused Theresa May of having "absolutely no commitment" to tackling social injustice

This contrasts with her predecessor, David Cameron's "Big Society" agenda, which relied on voluntary organisations rather than state intervention.

Mrs May the government should begin "tackling the increasing lack of affordability in housing, fixing broken markets to help with the cost of living, and building a great meritocracy where every child has the opportunity of a good school place.

"We will act across every layer of society to restore the fairness that is the bedrock of the social solidarity that makes our nation strong," she said.

'Hollow words'

On Monday, Mrs May will argue that previous administrations had focused too narrowly on the very poorest through the welfare system.

She is expected to say that people just above the welfare threshold feel that the system is "stacked against them".

Mrs May will say her vision of a "shared society" is aimed at tackling "both the obvious and everyday injustices" in an effort to "overcome division and bring our country together".

Image copyright Conservative Party
Image caption Mrs May's shared society comes seven years after predecessor David Cameron unveiled his "Big Society" plans

But Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "It is easy to stand up and recite hollow words but it is clear that this Conservative Brexit prime minister has absolutely no commitment to tackling social injustices and divisions - we only have to look at her record.

"May has used every opportunity to dismiss the concerns of those who don't agree with her - don't forget she branded those who believe that we are all citizens of the world to be 'citizens of nowhere'.

"She has failed to put the money into our NHS that is needed, and leads a government happy to churn out nasty, divisive rhetoric and initiatives at any opportunity."

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