There’s a double standard when it comes to government spending: it’s fine to spend pots of public money on corporate welfare - but not on public services.
While public services are taking the hit - which is exactly the purpose of “austerity” - massive corporate welfare payments amount to around £93bn/year, according to an audit carried out by Kevin Farnsworth, social policy lecturer at York University.
Our NHS is being run down and sold for want of adequate funding - but the UK government gives £6bn/year subsidies to fossil fuel industries operating in the UK and over the five years to 2014, further £billions to subsidise fossil fuel production overseas in countries including Russia, Saudi Arabia and China.
Before the G20 summit in 2014, Kevin Watkins, director of the British think tank the Overseas Development Institute, said:
“The evidence points to a publicly financed bail-out for carbon-intensive companies, and support for uneconomic investments that could drive the planet far beyond the internationally agreed target of limiting global temperature increases to no more than 2C.
This is real money which could be put into schools or hospitals. It is simply not economic to invest like this. This is the insanity of the situation. They are diverting investment from economic low-carbon alternatives such as solar, wind and hydro-power and they are undermining the prospects for an ambitious UN climate deal in 2015.”
And why is all this corporate welfare going to corporations whose short term drive for profit is destroying people and planet?
A 2013 World Development Movement briefing, Web of Power, found that one third of UK government ministers had connections with the fossil fuel industry and the finance sector which bankrolls it.
And it extends to the fast- disappearing privatised NHS. Complete with its revolving door politics.
We have to get rid of it.