THE NEW WORKER

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 22 June 2018


TORY NHS STUNT

by our labour movement correspondent

PRIME MINISTER Theresa May promised extra money for the cash-strapped NHS this week. But the proposed £20 billion boost was dismissed by Labour as yet another Tory stunt that would do little to tackle the long-term problems of the National Health Service. needed to begin tackling the funding crisis.”

This was echoed by the Dave Prentis, the general secretary of UNISON, another giant union with 1.3 million members — nearly half of them working in health care in the NHS and for organisations providing NHS services in all four countries of the United Kingdom. Speaking at their annual national conference

in Brighton this week, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Now Theresa May claims she’s got a plan to fund the NHS. But the funding she’s offered just isn’t enough. We’re not taken in by her shoddy rhetoric about Brexit dividends. Our message to the Prime Minister is this — properly fund our NHS and public services, and do it now. Or call an election and let the country elect The Tory leader, who only a few weeks ago was slagging Labour off as the party of higher taxes for daring to call for more money for the health service, was singing a different tune this week.

Mrs May’s coalition government has now accepted Labour’s call to raise taxes and borrowing to fund the NHS. Mrs May said, in a keynote speech in London, that extra tax would be used for the NHS, but pledged that it would be achieved in a fair and balanced way. And she claimed that some of the extra NHS funding she was promising will come from using the money Britain will no longer spend on its multi-billion pound annual membership subscription to the European Union after Brexit.

The extra money will be partly met by taxpayers contributing more and partly through the elusive “Brexit dividend”. “But the commitment I am making goes beyond that Brexit dividend because the scale of our ambition for our NHS is greater still,” May claimed. The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, will outline at a later date the details of how the extra NHS money will be raised.

Under May’s plan, NHS funding will grow on average by 3.4 per cent in real terms each year until 2024. The Government will also provide an additional £1.25 billion each year to cover specific pensions’ pressure. Explaining how the NHS, on the verge of celebrating its 70th birthday, has changed, May said: “As we grow wealthier as a nation it is natural that we would want to spend more of our national income on being a healthier nation too,” adding that in return for the increase in funding there will be a 10-year plan for health, tackling waste and bureaucracy, with efficiency savings invested into patient care.

But Labour Shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said that the money wasn’t enough and that what had been put on the table depended on the hypothetical Brexit dividend. “Today’s announcement confirms that Theresa May has failed to give the NHS the funding it needs,” he said, adding that the “figures represent little more than a standstill in funding, according to experts.” Labour wants to raise taxes for the top five per cent of earners, with big business topping up NHS spending growth to around the five per cent that it says is needed to fund properly the health service.

sceptical

Niall Dickson, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents healthcare organisations across England, Wales and the occupied north of Ireland, was also sceptical. He said that the announcement, which represents a 3.4 per cent rise in the NHS budget, isn’t a bonanza by any means and falls short of the four per cent extra-per-year figure suggested by an independent report. Mrs May’s promises didn’t go down well with the two giant unions that dominate the TUC these days. Gail Cartmail, the assistant general secretary of Unite, the biggest trade union in the country, said: “The NHS is suffering from years of underfunding and while the promised additional money is welcome it is the absolute minimum.

This was echoed y the Dave Prentis, the general secretary of UNISON, another giant union with 1.3 million members – nearly half of them working in health care in the NHS and for organisations providing NHS services in all four countries of the United Kingdom. Speaking at their annual national conference

in Brighton this week, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Now Theresa May claims she’s got a plan to fund the NHS. But the funding she’s offered just isn’t enough. We’re not taken in by her shoddy rhetoric about Brexit dividends. Our message to the Prime Minister is this – properly fund our NHS and public services, and do it now.