Tories care deeply about public services, PM will say

Theresa May will tell how she is "eternally grateful" to the NHS for the way it has helped her live a normal life after being diagnosed with diabetes.

The Prime Minister will insist the Conservative Party "cares deeply" about public services as she speaks about the impact the state has had on her life.

Addressing Tory activists in central London, Mrs May will make an unusually personal speech that reflects on her school years as well as her reliance on the health service.

Critics of the Government regularly accuse the PM of squeezing public services to breaking point and Labour claimed Mrs May cannot be trusted.

But the premier will tell the Tory party it "must mount a determined effort" to "win and keep" the public's trust in its management of public services.

Prime Minister Theresa May opened new headquarters for Diabetes UK in east London
Prime Minister Theresa May opened new headquarters for Diabetes UK in east London

In a speech to the Conservative Party Spring Forum, Mrs May will say: "Some people question our motives. They wonder whether we care enough about our NHS and schools.

"Whether we truly respect the people who work in them. And understand that people rely on them.

"Now, I know what our answer would be. Everyone in this party cares deeply about our public services. We use them. Many of us rely on them."

Mrs May had a varied education that crossed the state and private school sectors. The grammar school she won a place at was turned into a comprehensive while she was still a pupil.

The PM went on to read geography at St Hugh's College, Oxford University.

She will say: "We each have our own story of how they have been there for us throughout our lives.

"Mine starts with state schools which helped me to get into a great university and set me on course for a rewarding career.

"As a local councillor and constituency MP, I have seen first-hand how important public services are to people from all walks of life."

Mrs May revealed she had Type 1 diabetes while she was home secretary.

Keeping it under control means injecting herself with insulin up to five times a day.

She will say: "When I was diagnosed with diabetes, the NHS was there for me.

"Skilled and compassionate, helping me every step of the way to manage my condition and live a normal life. I rely on the NHS every day and I am eternally grateful to them."

Public doubts about the party's commitment to public services are "unfair" but they are a political fact which we must face up to", she will say.

The Prime Minister will attack Jeremy Corbyn for failing to "stick to his promises" on student finance and she will claim Labour is setting out to "mislead people".

She will warn that "instead of offering serious ideas to reform and improve our public services they simply make incredible promises to increase spending" but they have "no idea where the money would come from".

"By their own admission, their economic policies would lead to a run on the pound," she will say.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: "Once again Theresa May offers no solutions to the huge problems our country is facing. She is desperately trying to pretend that she cares about our public services but you can't trust a word that she says.

"The truth is that under this Government our public services are in crisis. NHS waiting lists have risen, schools budgets have been cut and local councils have seen their funding slashed."

It comes amid reports that pensioners who keep working past 65 could be hit with tax hikes to help raise extra cash for the NHS.

An option under discussion is to make the 1.2 million older workers pay National Insurance contributions, which would raise about £2 billion a year, according to The Daily Telegraph.

A Tory source said there are no plans to increase taxes.

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