We won’t stand for more austerity
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, on closer inspection, Labour have failed to commit to enough NHS and social care funding to pull the services out of crisis. (see post 3)
In his critique of the Labour NHS manifesto, Shropshire Defend Our NHS campaigner Pete Gillard said: its failure to commit to adequate NHS funding levels was down to John McDonnell’s insistence on a balanced budget:
“McDonnell’s fear of Labour being accused of ‘tax and spend’ ran through the manifesto.”
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 there is very little evidence to suggest that the late surge in support for Labour, which led to a hung parliament, would have been weakened or 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 a priority 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.
So our (positive honest!) argument is: Labour! Don’t hold back!!! Not now! Don’t be timid and sacrifice your chances - and ours!
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.
NHS spending has what they call a “multiplier effect” – so that for every £1 of NHS funding, more recirculates in the economy as a positive knock on effect. People are healthier, more jobs are produced, more money returns to 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.
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.
Just before the June 8th Election 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: