EVER since I became aware of things political, the Tories have claimed to be the party of law and order.

That claim now has a very hollow ring.

Last year a record number 21,000, offences relating to the use and or possession of knives resulted in convictions or cautions.

Twenty per cent of the offenders were under the age of 18.

Almost every day we hear of yet another, often young, life lost.

Whether it is in overstretched policing, inadequate housing, benefits cuts and universal credit, health and social service struggling to cope, austerity can and does kill.

Jan Marshall

Drake Road, Chafford Hundred