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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 February 2020

NHS debt so high it can't be repaid - so don't pay it!

Nurses marching for the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

Nurses marching for the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Mayola Demmenie, Basingstoke Socialist Party

Cuts and privatisation mean NHS trusts now have debts so high they might never be repaid, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

The NAO recently published two damning reports on the state of the NHS's finances. One was on the debt, totalling 10.9 billion in March 2019.

The other was on the capital budget, which covers replacement and maintenance of equipment and buildings. The Department for Health and Social Care is using money earmarked for upkeep as loans to NHS trusts to pay for the day-to-day running of hospitals.

This results in a backlog of maintenance work - worth 6.5 billion - and increased risk of harm to patients. It also adds to the dangerous amount of debt.

These debts must be scrapped immediately, and full funding to save the NHS from complete collapse urgently restored. Much of the money could be found within the pharmaceutical industry and other private companies supplying the NHS while raking in unimaginable profits.

Those companies should be nationalised, with compensation only paid on the basis of proven need, not to super-rich owners. A state-owned pharmaceutical and supplies industry could also provide the NHS with cheap medicines and equipment.

Boris Johnson says austerity is over - so where's the money? Trade unions in the NHS should demand the money back and the outsourcers kicked out - and build for protests, strikes, and occupations if necessary to win the needed change. This could stop the government deliberately running the NHS into the ground and privatising more and more of it.

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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.

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In The Socialist 12 February 2020:


News

Tackling climate change: Johnson emits huge quantities of hot air!

Windrush deportations: end the hostile environment

Streatham attack: Johnson's bill can't stop terror

Them & Us

What We Heard


NHS

NHS: Fight for full funding!

Unnecessary surgery scandal shows need for democratic control of NHS

NHS debt so high it can't be repaid - so don't pay it!

Callous Tory cuts to children's speech therapy in Nottinghamshire


Trade unions

Trade unions - new decade, new challenges


Workplace news

Big Unison south east regional meeting votes for anti-cuts position

PCS union: Uniting the left around a leadership that can win for members

Westex workers win increased pay offer in 11th week of strike

University strikers walk out for better pay and pensions

East London school strikes against academisation continue

Foreign Office workers' strike

Solidarity with Turkish workers

Lambeth Unison letter

London NSSN meeting

Solidarity with victimised bus rep Moe

Support Clive Walder


Cuts

How to resist tory attacks on local communities

Cuts councillors are the real problem

Council houses - not private property developers


International

Sinn Fein harnesses working-class anger to top poll

Lebanon - mass protests cut across sectarian division


Campaigns

Build independent workers' media with May Day greetings

Building a working-class movement for Tamil rights

Hackney: We don't want homes and retail units working-class people can't afford

20 years of housing failure

Socialist Sellers


Universal Credit

New BBC series - Insight or whitewash?

Nottingham: death of vulnerable claimant

UC stopped without warning


 

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