UK: Attack on NHS would continue under Labour government

 

UK: Attack on NHS would continue under Labour government

By
Jean Shaoul

3 June 2017

The Labour Party gives pride of place in its manifesto for the June 8 general election to its National Health Service (NHS) policies.

It promises to provide an extra £30 billion funding over the next parliament, reverse the privatisation of the NHS, repeal the 2012 Health and Social Care Act and reinstate the powers of the secretary of state for health to have overall responsibility for the NHS.

Workers should put no trust in such promises. In reality, Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are all committed to running down the NHS and allowing the private sector to continue its profiteering from the public health care budget.

Labour’s extra £30 billion funding on health is equivalent to £6 billion a year, slightly more than the Liberal Democrats pledge of £6 billion a year extra for both health and social care. The Tories are committed to an £8 billion real term increase over five years, but this is a moot point given their pledge to cut more than £40 billion from the NHS budget through “efficiency savings” by 2020.

Labour has made no commitment to reversing the £20 billion cuts imposed so far, or ending them.

These pledges are a drop in the ocean, given a growing and ageing population, rising chronic disease levels due to pollution, stressful work, and increasing social, economic and cultural deprivation and the scandalous lack of facilities for those in need of mental health treatment.

Neither will Labour’s pledge do anything to redress the decades of underfunding of health care and the cutbacks that have led to a fall in life expectancy.

Labour states that it “will scrap the NHS pay cap, put pay decisions back into the hands of the independent review…

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