Theresa May calls for a "new partnership" with employers on mental health

Mark Sands
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May used her speech to expand on her philosophy for leading the UK. (Source: Getty)

Prime Minister Theresa May has called for a "new partnership" between government and industry on mental health as part of a speech laying out her broad agenda for the UK.

Speaking at the Charity Commission today, May brought together housing, mental health, industrial strategy and Brexit as part of her programme to create a "shared society".

May said she expected a review of mental health workplaces by Lord Stevenson Mind chief executive Paul Farmer to establish that "new partnership", and warned that prevention of mental health problems and breaking of stigmas should be "top priorities" for employers.

Arguing that improving workers' mental health boosts motivation, reduces absences and drives better productivity, May added that employment discrimination laws would also be put under review.

Read More:Theresa May pledges to transform support for mental health in the workplace

The comments were positioned as part of a broader launch of government policy, alongside a housing white paper due later this month, with a green paper on industrial strategy also imminent.

The industrial strategy paper, she said, would see the government set out plans "to encourage growth, innovation and investment and ensure that as we aim to increase our overall prosperity".

And she re-iterated one of the core messages from the speech at the Conservative party conference – that the government wouldn't hesitate to intervene to "repair" free markets that "aren't working as they should".

"It means standing up for business as a great driver of prosperity and progress, but taking action when a minority of businesses and business figures tear away at the social contract between business and society by working to a different set of rules from everyone else," May said today,

Read More:Theresa May's ditching Cameron's "big society" for the "shared society"

Answering questions from journalists, the Prime Minister also dodged questions over a so-called “hard Brexit”, after yesterday suggesting she could scrap the UK's Single Market membership.

In an interview on Sunday, she had claimed that her goal was a “good trade deal” with Europe, with the pound drooping this morning in response.

Asked if the markets were getting it wrong, she responded: “I'm tempted to say that the people who are getting it wrong are those who print things saying that I'm looking at a hard Brexit.”

May added that she did not recognise the distinctions of hard and soft Brexit.

“It will be a new relationship because we won't be members of the EU anymore, we will be outside of the European Union, and therefore we will be negotiating a new relationship,” she said.

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