THE SURPRISE announcement by Theresa May on Sunday that the Tories had plans to put £20 billion of extra funding into the NHS over the next ten years is the clearest sign of the desperation in the ranks of the government.
Wracked by splits over Brexit in her own party and hated by workers for the ten years of Tory austerity that has seen the NHS pushed over the edge of collapse, May is desperately seeking to gain some popularity from her announcement. In fact her proposals have been met with almost universal derision.
Neither she or her health secretary Jeremy Hunt have given the slightest indication of where this money will come from, apart from vague noises about the savings of the UK’s yearly contribution to the EU after Brexit and the even vaguer talk of increased taxation.
According to Hunt we will have to wait for six months until the next budget before anyone will know where this money will come from or for it to actually be produced. May clearly believes that surviving for six months is a massive achievement for a government that could easily be brought down this week when the fresh amendments from the unelected House of Lords return to be voted on by Parliament.
The ringleader of the pro-EU Tory Remainers, Dominic Grieve, threatened at the weekend to ‘collapse the government’ if May didn’t give in and allow the overwhelmingly anti-Brexit MPs to have a final say in leaving. With the Tories teetering on the brink of being collapsed, May is clearly trying to gain some public approval with her vague promises.
She also clearly hopes that people will ignore the fact that £20 billion, which represents an increase in NHS funding of 3.4%, doesn’t even begin to compensate for the cuts of £25 billion made by the Tories every year since 2010 when they started their drive to privatise the NHS.
This was the start of the Tories’ real ten-year plan to bankrupt the NHS by making massive cuts to funding – reduced to 1% a year from the funding of 4% a year the NHS has had since its creation. ‘Savings’ made through wage cuts, ward and hospital closures and a fire sale of NHS property, are all designed to smash up the NHS, declare it a ‘failing’ service that can only be saved by the remaining parts of it sold off to the privateers.
This is the Tory plan for the NHS, complete and total privatisation of the health service and May’s latest act of desperation cannot disguise this. After all, any money for the NHS will be handed over to NHS England whose head, Simon Stevens, is the man who advised the Labour government of Tony Blair which started the privatisation of the NHS.
Stevens was brought back from his high paid job in the US private health industry by the Tories to complete the privatisation of health. This is the man who will be handed NHS funding and you can be sure it will end up in the pockets of the privateers. If the vast majority of the population were not fooled by May’s worthless pledges then some trade union leaders were clearly impressed.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis welcomed May’s announcement while complaining that it wasn’t enough. The general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, Janet Davies, went even further saying: ‘Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt are to be congratulated on securing this increase’.
It is not a question of ‘congratulating’ May or Hunt or welcoming their pathetic popularity stunt.
The only way to ensure the future of the NHS is to bring down the Tories by the working class taking independent action and forcing the TUC to call an immediate general strike to kick them out and go forward to a workers government.
A workers government will kick the privateers out of the NHS, expropriate the pharmaceutical industries that leech off it, along with the banks and major industries and place them under workers management as part of a socialist economy. Only under socialism can the NHS as a free at the point of delivery service be guaranteed.