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999 Call for the NHS

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By 999 Call for the NHS, Jun 20 2017 05:00PM

None of the three main parties’ 2017 Manifestos commits to funding the NHS adequately. This is because they are all still hung up on the “tax and spend” myths that the well-respected Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang recently called on voters to reject. Ha-Joon Article


These myths create the delusion that there is an inherent virtue in balancing the nation’s books. If you stop and think about it for a minute, this is clearly not the case.


If government cuts public spending, on the misapprehension that this will reduce the deficit, it shrinks the economy: the effect is to stop putting money in the pockets of public employees, who stop spending it in the private sector and to stop filling the order books of the public sector.




These are the facts that we need to get our heads around, in order to get rid of “tax and spend” myths:


There is no inherent virtue in balancing the nation’s books - it depends on the circumstances.


As Ha-Joon Chang explains,


“ in an overheating economy, deficit spending would be a serious folly. However, in today’s UK economy, some deficit spending may be good – necessary, even.”


This is because the economy is stagnating, although this stagnation has been masked by “an oceanic scale” of personal debt, funded by banks that have excess cash to splash around.


This economic stagnation is the entirely predictable consequence of successive governments’ “austerity” policy - since, as we have seen, cutting public spending shrinks the economy.


Austerity is about dismantling the welfare state; the 2008 financial sector collapse was the shock that enabled successive UK governments to impose it - justifying it by phony “tax and spend” myths.


The ConDem and Conservative governments have inflicted the huge costs of this bailout on the British public. The poorest citizens, in the poorest regions, are being hit hardest.


The British government spent at least £1trillion bailing out the corporate banksters whose unregulated greed caused the 2008 financial crash. This rescue package was equivalent to around 3/4 of the size of the entire GDP of the UK economy.


Gordon Brown’s Labour government then brought in McKinsey to tell it how to cut NHS spending.


None of the three main parties’ 2017 Manifestos commits to funding the NHS adequately. This is because they are all still hung up on the “tax and spend” myths that the well-respected Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang recently called on voters to reject in his very clear and simple GUARDIAN ARTICLE





McKinsey duly set out the cuts proposals that have led to NHS England’s 5 Year Forward View and the Sustainability and Transformation Plans. The advice formed the QIPP report, commissioned by Labour, used by the Coalition, QIPP is the basis of the ‘Nicholson Challenge’ which forced £20bn ‘efficiency savings’ on the NHS between 2010 – 2015. The advice has been described as ‘entirely without evidence’ by senior health policy analysts. (NHA LINK BELOW)


Small wonder then that the 2017 Labour Manifesto - written by Jon Ashworth, formerly a special adviser to Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor - continues the austerity mythology.



The UK welfare state isn’t especially large


As of 2016, the British welfare state (measured by public social spending) was, at 21.5% of GDP, barely three-quarters of welfare spending in other comparably rich European countries.

Welfare spending is not consumption


It is not a drain on the nation’s productive resources that has to be minimised. Far from being consumption, a lot of welfare spending is investment that pays back more than it costs, through increased productivity in the future.


Expenditure on education (especially early learning programmes such as Sure Start), childcare and school meals programmes is an investment in the nation’s future productivity. So is investment in the NHS - an unhealthy population is not going to be a productive worksforce. Unemployment benefit, especially if combined with good publicly funded retraining and job-search programmes, such as in Scandinavia, helps people to hang onto their health, self-respect and skills that would otherwise be lost.



Tax is not a burden



In return for paying taxes, we get an array of public services, from education, health and old-age care, through to flood defence and roads to the police and military.


However, all mainstream parties promulgate the false idea that tax is a burden. Ha-Joon Chang points out that this is as daft as claiming that paying for a curry or a beer is a burden. In each case, we get something in return, that is worth the price paid. The proof of the pudding is in the eating - if tax really were a burden, as Ha-Joon Chang says,


“all rich individuals and companies would move to Paraguay or Bulgaria, where the top rate of income tax is 10%. Of course, this does not happen because, in those countries, in return for low tax you get poor public services...


Japanese and German companies don’t move out of their countries in droves despite some of the highest corporate income tax rates in the world (31% and 30% respectively) because they get good infrastructure, well-educated workers, strong public support for research and development, and well-functioning administrative and legal systems.”


New Labour was complicit in the austerity lie. But Labour is now an officially anti-austerity party with a leadership that was elected on the basis that austerity is a political choice. So now is the time that the Labour Party needs to reflect that in its entire policy approach - including its NHS and social care funding commitments.


BREAKING THE ECONOMIC MYTHS - Ha Joon Chang


We Wont Stand for More Austerity - our first post on this theme


NHA Article on McKinsey


McKinsey Consultants in Everything!



By 999 Call for the NHS, Jun 19 2017 03:25PM

999 Call for the NHS exists to stop and reverse NHS cuts and sell offs, and to restore the NHS as a publicly owned, funded, run and provided health service that is free at the point of need and provides the full range of care and treatments to everyone, based on their clinical need.


We also campaign for social care to be fully publicly funded and provided and available to all who need it in order to live independent decent lives - not just as “a means-tested privatised, residual service for those with substantial needs”.


This requires adequate funding. But none of the three main parties’ 2017 Manifestos commits to this.


Given their “austerity” record over the last two Parliaments, it’s not surprising that the Conservative and LibDem manifestos offer little in the way of increased NHS and social care funding.


However, it’s disappointing that Labour - on closer inspection - have also failed to commit to enough NHS and social care funding to pull the services out of crisis.


In his critique of the Labour NHS manifesto, Shropshire Defend Our NHS campaigner Pete Gillard said

that its failure to commit to adequate NHS funding levels was down to John McDonnell’s insistence on a balanced budget: READ FULL STATEMENT



On social media, Labour’s failure to commit to adequate NHS funding has been defended on the grounds that, had Labour committed to adequate NHS funding, the resulting media attacks on Labour as the party of tax and spend would have totally wrecked the party’s chances of winning the election.


Well, Labour didn’t win the election despite playing safe with its insistence on a balanced budget; and is it really credible that the late surge in support for Labour, which led to a hung parliament, would have been forestalled by a commitment to proper NHS funding?


Surely such a commitment would have found favour among these voters and could have pulled in even more, given the wide public support for the NHS and its importance as an election issue?


Bernie Sanders points out – the specifics of NHS policy notwithstanding - that Labour massively strengthened its position precisely by campaigning against the Establishment and not kow-towing.


The (positive) argument needs to be: Don’t hold back!!! Don’t be timid and sacrifice your own chances.


Of course, unless the NHS Reinstatement Bill is passed - which would stop and reverse NHS privatisation - more funding would mean more money going to profiteering companies. The need to pass the NHS Reinstatement Bill goes without saying. Too bad it’s not in the Labour manifesto, which merely commits to making the NHS the preferred provider and stopping excess profits being taken out of the NHS.


Funding the NHS and social care properly is economically beneficial - as well as morally right.


As NHA Party member Naveen Judah stated at the first Save Our A&Es public meeting in Halifax in March 2014, NHS spending has a “multiplier effect” – so that for every £1 of NHS funding, more recirculates in the economy.


When the government pays for public services it puts money in the pockets of public employees, who spend it in shops, on rent, on holidays – in short, in the private sector. It also fills the order books of the private sector – with railway lines, and lightbulbs, books for schools, hospital equipment….


The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills – A Study by Dr David Stuckler and Dr Sanjay Basu – found that the multiplier effect for health spending is greater than 3 – so each £1 generates at least a £3 return.

LINK TO STUDY


When governments spend they boost the economy – and ensure the provision of affordable essential services for all. Government spending boosts the healthy circular motion of the economy. Money goes out into the public domain and comes back in via public spending and taxes.



Before the June 8th election, the well-respected Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang called on voters to reject “tax and spend” myths about the economy that the mainstream political parties are still hung up on:


999 Call for the NHS extend this call to all NHS campaigners.


For some facts we all need to get our heads around, please check out this post. It will be worth it.


HA-JOON CHANG ARTICLE






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