Tories using pandemic to privatise NHS more
Marching to save the NHS, 3.2.18, photo Mary Finch (Click to enlarge)
Jon Dale, secretary, Unite union Nottinghamshire Health Branch
Another £3 billion for the NHS to prepare for the coming winter, said the Tory government. NHS England had actually said it needed £10 billion.
And who decides where the money is spent? Is it raising low-paid health workers' pay and providing vitally needed jobs - or pumped to profit-seeking business?
In April, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the NHS and vital public services would get "whatever they need." His July statement promised £15 billion for NHS PPE. These huge sums of money can sound impressive, even if too late for many who have become ill or died.
But at every step, the Tories have looked to channel public money to private business. Since the privatisation of NHS Logistics - by Tony Blair's 'New Labour' government - buying, stockpiling and distribution of supplies has been disorganised and run for profit.
In April, £350 million was awarded to private companies to procure PPE. Pestfix, a pest control company with just 16 employees, was awarded a £108 million contract to supply surgical gowns.
It turned out there had been an error - the contract was only for £32 million of gowns. Because of Pestfix's lack of assets, the government had to give it a deposit worth 75% of the value of the contract. Why couldn't the NHS place its own contract?
Another £18 million contract went to Aventis Solutions, a company reporting three employees and net assets of just £322 in June 2019.
These and other contracts were placed without tendering or competition. So much for the Tories' oft-repeated claims that the competitive capitalist market is more efficient than public services!
Governments have squeezed public services since the 1980s so they no longer have the people or facilities to cope with normal demands, let alone a pandemic.
Immediate restoration of past cuts is needed. All private contracts should be open to inspection by workers and trade unions, and brought back in-house. Privatised and outsourced NHS and other public services must be renationalised, under the democratic control of workers and service users.
Donate to the Socialist Party
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.
In The Socialist 22 July 2020:
Fight for our livelihoods... fight for our lives!
Fight for the NHS
Huawei: what's behind Johnson's latest u-turn?
Mandatory masks in shops law: workers must not pay the price
Luton Council sunk by airport investment: fight for funding, not speculation!
Tories using pandemic to privatise NHS more
Them & Us
Hugely significant Tower Hamlets council workers' strike continues
Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary
No going back
Housing crisis: what now and after the pandemic?
United Left general secretary hustings shows widest debate needed for left in Unite
Nationalise Tata Steel to save jobs
Online rally: Fight the London transport funding cuts!
Continue the fight to protect safety
Debenhams: Fighting closures and redundancies
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Time to relaunch TUSC
I joined the Socialist Party to fight back
Wales arts cuts: Save every job
Trade unionists and artists stand with Maxine Peake
Bristol trans rights protest
Getting the Socialist over the summer
Saving the music industry from pandemic and austerity
Iran: Renewed wave of protests and strikes
Israel: Nurses strike and win
100 years since the foundation of the Communist Party of Great Britain
Exciting Cuban spy thriller exposes US-sponsored terrorism
The Socialist inbox
The Socialist 22 July 2020 |
Join the Socialist
| Audio | PDF | ebook